Symbolic action and stories of resistance in Berlin
The Guardians of the Forest agenda in Berlin was full of events on November 1st
Parallel to the press conference where evidence of the role that indigenous peoples and local communities play as a proven solution to climate change was presented, delegates from the organizations from Mesoamerica, Amazonia and Indonesia met with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Germany, Sebastian Wood, to discuss the objectives of the Forest Wardens during COP 23.
After the meeting, the delegations went to the Brandenburg Gate, where they performed a symbolic action against the criminalization of indigenous communities and environmental defenders.
Symbolic action at the Brandenburg Gare. Berlin, Germany. November 01, 2017
“Indigenous Peoples and local communities are the best guardians of forests, on which the well-being of the whole world depends, and without which we will not be able to meet the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement. But we can not continue doing this alone, we need the media, the civil society, the decision makers. We need them all.” Cándido Mezúa, delegate of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), told the press during the demonstration.
The public at the Brandenburg Gate, one of the most iconic places in the German capital, enthusiastically supported the campaign and the demands of the organizations seeking to stop the criminalization and murder of indigenous leaders and other environmental defenders, real territorial rights, access to direct climate financing and the inclusion of their knowledge in global strategies to prevent global warming.
Stories from the territories
After the demonstration, the group of delegates from 14 countries held two events at the Natural History Museum in Berlin, where they presented their life stories, lessons learned and problems faced for an audience of decision makers and members of civil society.
Marli Kamis, of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) traveled with his delegation from Indonesia to talk about the criminalization that his community faces, where the corruption of local governments in complicity with agro-businesses have displaced and repressed the indigenous peoples to plant monocultures such as oil palm, that have destroyed the forests and the way of life of the communities.
Patricia Juruna from Brazil and delegate of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), told of the situation her people are experiencing due to the impact of large hydroelectric plants.
Olo Villaláz of the Guna people told the story of their people’s resistance to preserve their ancestral territories, which continues to this day against the government of Panama.
Wilma Mendoza, who resisted the construction of the penetration highway known as TIPNIS, spoke about the repression from the Bolivian government and the struggle that indigenous peoples continue to give 7 years after a temporary victory for the preservation of their territories.
David Karai of the Guarani people of Brazil described the special relationship that indigenous peoples have with their territories, in which the forests are sacred; as well as the pressure that the Michel Temer government is exerting in Brazil, where the indigenous rights guaranteed by theConstitution and international treaties are not being respected.
The day ended with the group united, in the same way they were during the whole European tour, to leave for Bonn, where the Guardians of the Forest will seek to create alliances and take their messages to the COP23 on climate change.