For Immediate Release

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Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International Coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Programme (Costa Rica) – Email: isaac@coecoceiba.org or Tel: + 506 8338 32 03 (Costa Rica)

New Report: Community Rights Help Communities Win

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - A new report released today [October 13] by Friends of the Earth International illustrates the importance of enforcing local community and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, featuring struggles of groups and communities from all continents. [1]

The report can be downloaded from http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2011/community-rights-corporate-wrongs/view

“Community rights allow us to protect traditional knowledge and ownership, as well as our natural resources. By enforcing their rights communities can overcome local struggles and win. For instance with community-based forest governance local people can help protect their forests as well as the climate,” said Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth International Coordinator of the Forests and Biodiversity Programme.

The report 'Communities Rights, Corporate Wrongs', features local struggles that have the defence and enforcement of community rights at their heart and includes the following cases :

- The Subanon Indigenous communities in Mindanao, the Philippines who successfully worked together to halt a damaging mine

- Indigenous communities in Sarawak, Indonesia displaced by a mega-dam having their case heard, thanks to legal support

- Communities in Costa Rica mobilised against mining

- Communities in Ogoniland in Nigeria resisting against oil giant Shell

- Local communities, Indigenous Peoples and activists in the US and Canada resisting a tar sands oil pipeline that would stretch from Alberta to Texas.

- Bagyeli Indigenous communities in Cameroon asserting their rights and demarcating ancestral territories.

The report also illustrates how community rights help strengthen 'community-based forest governance', the regulations and practices used by many communities for the conservation and sustainable use of their forests.

Community-based forest governance is communal and is traditionally identified with the protection of the forests - in contrast to their industrial and commercial exploitation, which contribute to deforestation, loss or livelihoods and biodiversity, and climate change.

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