30 Oct.

Amsterdam: solutions to climate change, from the forest peoples

The Guardians of the Forest shared their stories with civil society, non-governmental organizations and Dutch Green Party MP Suzanne Kröger, to whom they presented their demands to be delivered to Parliament.

The event, organized as a Political Coffee, had great assistance and facilitated the creation of ties and understandings between indigenous and community leaders, and those who attended to hear firsthand their experiences in the defense of forests.
This political coffee took place on Saturday October 24th in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and was attended by a number of organizations including Oxfam, Novib, Land Rights Now, Action Aid, Both Ends, Grenpeace Netherlads, ICCO, IUCN-NL and NCIV.

“Indigenous rights are innate rights, therefore, they cannot depend on political changes”

Said Luiz Terena, a lawyer and APIB representative, who spoke to the audience about the difficult legal situation of indigenous peoples in Brazil, where more than 60% of community lands have no legal protection.

Luiz Terena, delegate of APIB (Brazil) speaks at the event

Marli Kamis, from AMAN, spoke to the public about the main threats indigenous peoples face in Indonesia, where the expansion of oil palm plantations at an industrial scale has destroyed thousands of hectares of forest, with the support of corrupt local governments.

“The main challenges we face in Indonesia are land grabbing and persecution”

Femke Wijdekop of IUCN Netherlands spoke of the need to enact binding international laws that force corporations to take responsibility for their actions and their role in human rights violations.

Marli Kamis from AMAN and Femke Wijdekop from IUCN

Carol González, delegate from the Cubeo people, created an immediate connection with the audience, whom she asked to imagine the forest, with its sounds and peace, and then to imagine a great invisible shield protecting it “we, the guardians of the forest, are a human shield that protects the forests and the planet”.

Carol González, delegate from COICA

At the end of the event the delegations handed Suzanne Kröger of the Green Party their statement, in which they present their demands to the Dutch Parliament. The Parlamentarian is aware that much of the problem is caused by excessive consumerism “The Netherlands are a large importer of commodities coming from lands that are being destroyed. We need a social transformation”
Carol from COICA reminded the audience that individuals also have a great deal of responsibility.

“As consumers, you can make sure that the products you buy are not causing pain and destruction in our communities.”

Dolfince Gaelagoe from AMAN hands the Guardians of the Forest declaration to Suzanne Kröger


Amsterdam. October 28, 2017