Historic Moment in the defence of the Rights of Nature

Quito, Ecuador, 26 November 2010

A historic case was filed by an international coalition of defenders of nature’s rights at the Constitutional court of Ecuador against BP and its crimes against nature. Ecuador recognises the rights of nature in its current constitution adopted in 2008. The rights of nature are universal. This provides the fundamental basis for this legal case.

The case was brought with regard to the massive environmental disaster caused when BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010. That incident exposed BP’s drive to maximise profit with total disregard of nature and its rights. The company constantly lied with regard to the scale of the
disaster and toped this up by using unusually high amounts of toxic chemical dispersants to cover up the spill. This disaster was not limited to the Gulf Coast but has wider reach through the movement of water as well as atmospheric pollutions.

The defenders of nature are not seeking financial compensation since the harm done to nature cannot be compensated for in monetary terms. Some of the key demands in the case include that BP should release all data and information on the ecological destruction caused by the oil spill. Another
demand is that they should also to refrain from extracting as much oil underground as they spilled in the Gulf of Mexico incident.

Besides this case the activists called for support for the Yasuni ITT proposal of the Ecuadorian government to leave the oil in that sensitive ecosystem underground. They also urged the US government to extend the moratorium on offshore oil drilling.

Speaking after filing the case, the defenders of nature insisted that phasing out crude oil as a major energy source should be an issue of critical importance at the climate conference in Cancun. It is the key way to phase out the current carbon economy, tackle climate change and halt the forces
that are driving the current global crises.

The case was jointly filed by

1. Vandana Shiva, (eco-feminist and winner of the1993 Right Livelihood
Award, considered the Alternative Nobel Prize)

2. Nnimmo Bassey (Friends of the Earth Nigeria and Coordinator of
Oilwatch international and 2010 laureate of the Right Livelihood Award)

3. Delfín Tenesaca (President of ECUARUNARI, indigenous Andean
ecuadorean organisation)

4. Blanca Chancoso (ecuadorean indigenous leader)

5. Líder Góngora (representative of the ancestral peoples of Mangroves)

6. Alberto Acosta (Ex President of the Constitutional Assembly of

7. Ana Luz Valdéz (representative of social movements from Chiapas,

8. Diana Murcia (Colombian human rights lawyer) and

9. Cecilia Chérrez (President of Acción Ecológica, Ecuador)

British Petroleum demandada en Ecuador       
martes, 16 de noviembre de 2010

El viernes 26 de noviembre se presentó en la Corte Constitucional del Ecuador una demanda contra la empresa de origen británico, British Petroleum por haber violado los Derechos de la Naturaleza y los Derechos del Mar consagrados en la Constitución Política del Ecuador, al permitir el derrame de al menos cinco millones de barriles de petróleo, luego de que la plataforma Deep Water Horizon se hundiera el pasado 20 de Abril, matando a 11 trabajadores.

La inédita demanda es presentada por un grupo heterogéneo conformado por científicos, académicos, ecologistas, líderes indígenas y de base de diferentes partes del mundo. Destaca la presencia de Vandana Shiva, reconocida ecofeminista a nivel mundial a quién se le otorgó en el año 1993 el Right Livelihood Award, considerado como el Premio Nobel Alternativo, por su lucha en defensa del medio ambiente. También resalta la presencia de Nnimmo Bassey, presidente de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional, y coordinador de la red internacional Oilwatch, quién también recibió el mismo premio en el 2010; además suscribieron la demanda Delfín Tenesaca, Presidente de ECUARUNARI, Blanca Chancoso reconocida dirigente indígena, Líder Góngora representante de los pueblos ancestrales del manglar, Alberto Acosta Ex Presidente de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, Ana Luz Valadez de México, Diana Murcia de Colombia y Cecilia Chérrez Presidenta de Acción Ecológica.

Los demandantes argumentan, “es un imperativo ético en tiempos en que las voces más optimistas anuncian que la humanidad está perdiendo el futuro, porque el modelo de crecimiento, sobre explotación y despojo, basado en la energía fósil nos lo está arrebatando”.

Apelan al principio de la jurisdicción universal, “porque la jurisdicción universal asienta su filosofía en la persecución de hechos que ofenden la conciencia de la humanidad y el desastre ecológico del Golfo de México ofende esa conciencia”

Los demandantes solicitan que la corte designe a la Magistrada Nina Pacari, dado que ha sido la primera en argumentar y defender los derechos de la naturaleza, consagrados en la Constitución Política del Ecuador.

Entre las peticiones a la empresa constan recomendaciones de medidas de compensación como son:

1. Que se ordene a la British Petroleum dejar represada en el subsuelo una cantidad equivalente en crudo a la derramada en el Golfo.

2. Que se ordene a British Petroleum redireccionar la inversión destinada para nuevas exploraciones hacia modalidades para dejar el crudo en el subsuelo como mecanismo más eficaz de compensación a la naturaleza actualmente afectada en sus ciclos climáticos debido a la producción petrolera.

Y otras recomendaciones a los gobiernos entre las que constan

   1. La exhortación al Gobierno de los Estados Unidos para que de manera inmediata se restablezca la moratoria de exploración petrolera en el Golfo de México

   2. Que se exhorte a todos los gobiernos y a las Naciones Unidas a incorporar en todas las discusiones que realicen sobre el cambio climático, biodiversidad y desarrollo el reconocimiento de los derechos del mar y de la naturaleza y el progresivo abandono de operaciones que, como la petrolera, afectan estos sujetos y sus derechos; y se impulse el dejar el crudo en el subsuelo tal y como ha sido la propuesta Yasuní-ITT impulsada por el Ecuador.

La demanda se presenta en el contexto de las “Jornadas por los Derechos de la Naturaleza”, organizadas por el Instituto de Estudios Ecologistas del Tercer Mundo, Acción Ecológica y la Red Internacional Oilwatch, que se realizaron en Quito este 25 y 26 de Noviembre.


Action Alert Sydney residents to mobilize against Hidden Valley mine damage


I am Reuben, the Interim President of Union of Watut River Communities. An organization that is representing the people along the Watut River where the Hidden Valley Mine is operating. Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV), the company operating the mine, is owned 50% by Newcrest Mining(Australian based) and 50% by Harmony Mining (South African based).
There is already a huge environmental damage to the river system. Mine run-offs and overflows are allowed directly into the Watut River system. The River was most importantly known for its white water rafting and is regarded one of the most fast flowing river within the Southern Hemisphere. Tourist all over the world have been visiting the river.

All these potentials are now gone!

People (children, men, women and old people) are getting rashes due to the pH and alkalinity variations from the river. Food crops are not giving good yields, the alluvial miners are not getting much as they used to before. The silts are covering the once fertile top soil for gardening and the river banks are overflowing and flooding gardens. The river itself is very dirty/murky and filled with contaminated sediments daily….

I am very keen to at least raise this awareness when the 2010 Mining Conference is held down in Sydney between December 6 – 8, 2010. Due to financial difficulty, I cannot make it.

Is there any way we can get all the Papua New Guineans living and working within the vicinity of Sydney to mobilise and put-up some bill boards or placards about the “unsafe, unethical, immoral acts”, that are being caused by those mining giants???

Just a peaceful protest because the PNG Prime Minister will also be there. If more information is needed, I will try to supply.

Have a read and let me know your thoughts. Your help in anyway would greatly be appreciated.
Best Regards,



From 6 December a week of free trade negotiations for a mega-free deal between NZ, the US, Australia and six other countries will be held in the Sky City Casino. This agreement (known as the TPPA) will tie the hands of NZ governments to the failed neoliberal agenda for the next century.
A meeting to discuss actions and strategies will be held at Unite offices at 6a Western Springs Rd, Kingsland on Tuesday November 30 at 6pm. Please come!
You can also register to be inside the venue along with the media, business people and maybe even delegates (???) on http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trans-Pacific-meeting/0–stakeholder/ . There are guaranteed to be about 500 big business lobbyists for every 1 people’s representative inside the Casino venue, so …
Another occasion for debate: Jon Mayson, Chair, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
invites you to help mark the opening of The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations, Round four Monday, 6 December, 6.00pm-8.00pm, Voyager Maritime Museum, Corner Quay and Hobson Streets, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland. RSVP essential by Wednesday 1 December
tpprsvp@nzte.govt.nz telephone (04) 816-8196


Tonga Votes Today

Following the pro-democracy riots in Tonga in 2006, troops from New Zealand and Australia were sent to quell the rebellion and restore Monarchical order. This documentary was filmed in the week after the troops arrived detailing the riots, the pro-democracy movement, the abuse of people by Tongan forces and the operations of the New Zealand and Australian army. The movie stands very much at odds with the mainstream media account of the events.

Produced by Smush and Slm of Aotearoa Indymedia.
Download the movie (high quality): video.indymedia.org/en/2007/04/837.shtml

See also :

Blood From a Stone
Toga's accession to the WTO


Blood From a Stone
60.98 KB

15 December 2005

The tiny island Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific is about to make history, by joining the WTO on what are arguably the worst terms ever offered to any country. The appalling terms of Tonga’s accession package show that nothing has changed in the way the world’s smallest and most vulnerable economies are treated as they seek to join the WTO. It is a further demonstration that the fine words of the Doha Development Agenda mean nothing when pitted against the commercial interests of the world’s richest countries



Moana & The Tribe Titia

Dedicated with Love to all the participants & PANG staff of Navigating trade Winds meeting just held in Fji.

TITIA TO HOE (M.Maniapoto/D.Nehua)

E kore koe e ngaro nga kakano (repeat)
Titia tō hoe
Dig your paddle
...Kia hōhonu Deeper
Tukua mai tō toa e
Let your courage
E tū te pai Guide the helm
Titiro ake ki a Rangitūhāhā
Look to the sky Mātaki
atu i te taura
Read the weave e here
ana i te hau
Of wind
Ki ngā kapua i te rā
In clouds by day
Whāia atu ngā huarahi
Follow the trails o ngā whetū Of familiar stars e mōhio nei tātau Guiding you by night
I ngā pō, i ngā pō Whakatītahatia tō taringa
Bend your ear Ki te reo
To the voice o ngā karakia tawhito
of the ancient ones chanting
ngā karakia tapu Sacred karakia
Hoea rā tō waka e
Paddle your canoe


FTA Critic Told To "Get A Visa" To Go To Australia

Tuesday, 16 November 2010, 4:13 pm
Press Release: Professor Jane Kelsey

FTA Critic Told To "Get A Visa" To Go To Australia

16 November 2010

On Sunday evening (14 November), Professor Jane Kelsey was detained at immigration at Sydney airport for about an hour at the beginning of a tour to launch a new book on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. She was informed by a senior immigration official that she was not eligible for visa free entry to Australia on the grounds that she was not an ‘appropriate person’ under Australia’s 1994 immigration laws.

While eventually allowed to enter Australia on this occasion, Professor Kelsey was told she would need to apply formally for a visa for any future visits, and was advised to seek a waiver from the Australian High Commissioner.

The official relied on a Springbok tour conviction from the early 1980s, which he claimed had attracted a suspended prison sentence of one year and nine months. Despite claims by the official that ‘appropriate checks have been made’, no such sentence was ever imposed on Professor Kelsey or the others involved in the case. Indeed, the Court of Appeal overturned a binding-over order that would have prevented those involves from engaging in further political protest. Former Green MP Sue Bradford, who was also involved in the case, has confirmed that she has never had similar problems entering Australia.

Professor Kelsey describes this development as ‘totally bizarre’.

‘I am a constant visitor to Australia for professional and personal reasons – at least eight times in the past two years, including just one month ago for an academic conference on trade.’

‘I always tick the box about criminal convictions, which relate to the Springbok tour and Bastion Point in the early 1980s. They have the list on record at Australian immigration. Usually I wait 10 or at most 15 minutes and they wave me on. This twist came completely out of the blue.’

Professor Kelsey has expressed her concern to the Australian High Commissioner and sought clarification of her immigration status under Australian law, including whether she will be required to seek visa for future entry to Australia.

‘It is possible it is an ill-judged over-reach by super-officious immigration officials at Sydney.‘

‘However it is equally likely that my name has recently been flagged, presumably linked to my role in promoting critical debate on the TransPacific Partnership negotiations. Requiring me to apply for a visa each time I go to Australia would make it easier to monitor and restrict my movements. At the very least sends an intimidating message to me and to others.’

Last year Professor Kelsey raised concerns over the apparent surveillance by the SIS of her activities as a critic of neoliberalism and free trade agreements, which she argues are actually investor-rights agreements that impose severe constraints on New Zealand’s future policy choices and sovereignty.

‘This latest development seems to confirm that promoting informed and democratic debate on these secretly negotiated agreements is deemed a threat to national security. Everyone should be worried about the implications for academic freedom and informed debate in a democracy.’

- Press release from Professor Jane Kelsey.


Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) @ Political Asylum


Wild Rivers Defender Murrandoo Yanner

Murrandoo Yanner, a Gangalidda traditional owner said, "Healthy rivers are the lifeblood of our people — everything depends on that. Water for drinking, fish for eating — we have to protect this for our children's children. We've talked with the Government and we thought we were on the same page — we want the Settlement and Gregory Rivers declared — the Government shouldn't cave in to the scare-mongering of those mining and agriculture mobs.


Women of Aotearoa, Philippines Share Wisdom

12 November 2010
Women of Aotearoa, Philippines Share Wisdom, Affirm Solidarity for Women’s Rights and Self-Determination:

No To Further Sell-Out Of Land, Sovereignty In The Name Of ‘Free Trade’
While foreign and trade ministers attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Japan discuss further opening of economies for ‘free trade,’ women activists say no to further sell-out of land, culture and sovereignty. They denounced APEC, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade deals that ensure huge profits for big business at the expense of women, workers, indigenous peoples and other disadvantaged sectors.

“WISE WOMEN SPEAK,” an intergenerational - inter movement korero (forum) on the liberation of women and self determination featured Coni Ledesma, International Spokesperson of Makibaka: Patriotic Movement of New Women together with Ngapuhi leader Titewhai Harawira and activist lawyer Annette Sykes at the Auckland University, New Zealand, 10th November.

“In 1975 we marched to demand not one more acre of Maori land to be sold. Now more trade agreements are being negotiated above our heads without our participation,” activist lawyer Annette Sykes says as she points out that the capitalist neo-liberal agenda is the new form of colonization. Sykes challenged the participants, mostly students and young women to speak out and revive a strong women’s movement in defense of land, rights and self-determination. “With the Terrorism Suppression Act and Search and Surveillance Bill that allows installation of listening devices into our homes, the state’s actions are meant to silence us and tell us that it’s not right to demand land, rights and liberation.”

Ledesma, senior member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Negotiating Panel was invited to NZ along with Luis Jalandoni, Chair of NDFP Peace Panel for a peace speaking tour from 26th October to 12th November hosted by Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS), Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy.

Welcoming Ledesma, distinguished Maori woman leader Titewhai Harawira says, “I remember coming to the Philippines in the ‘80s where I was shocked at how women were treated. At the same time, sharing the pain of struggling indigenous women in the Philippines gave me a lot of strength.” Denouncing the latest news on mining exploration projects in NZ, Harariwa says, “Enough is enough. Neo-liberalism means theft of land, theft of identity, theft of culture. Corporate giants spend billions to save the whales. They save the whales while they shoot natives and grab their land.”

According to Ledesma, “It is important for women to find the correct analysis and understanding of the cause of oppression of women. Women's oppression is not a problem between men and women, but a matter of class oppression that began when classes in society emerged. The oppression of women will be fully eliminated, and the real liberation of women achieved when the system of exploitation and oppression of one human being by another will be abolished. Today, global monopoly capitalism operates on insatiable greed for profits at the expense of women, indigenous peoples and other marginalised sectors. Socialism will remove the conditions that have made women unequal to men.”
At the forum, Ledesma also appealed for solidarity for women activists in the Philippines currently detained on trumped-up charges including Angie Ipong, a 65-year-old church worker and veteran social justice activist who has been jailed since 2005.

Ms Ipong was arrested by the military while she was giving a seminar to peasants and women leaders on the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), one of the landmark bilateral agreements reached in the government-NDFP peace talks. She was missing for 13 days during which time she underwent torture while undergoing interrogation. She began a hunger strike from day one of her illegal arrest to force her captors to surface her and allow her to have access to her lawyer.

Looking at the photographs of Filipino women detainees Angie Ipong and the two nursing mothers among the Morong 43 health workers, Harariwa notes, “I’m sad to see you’re still carrying placards for these women to be free. I believe that no one is free until everyone is free.”
The forum organiser says Maori have learned a lot from cross cultural korero. Helen Te Hira from Auckland Philippines Solidarity says, “Maori have been to the Philippines over the years, learnt and discussed about colonisation, militarism, deforestation, so this is women from different communities talking and exchanging their experiences and hopefully from that we will get sense of where we have come from and where we're going.”

“With the governments of New Zealand and Philippines both selling off the people’s ancestral domain and sovereignty to foreign powers and local business elite, Maori and Filipinos share a common struggle to defend the rights of women, indigenous people and all disadvantaged sectors in the face of large-scale mining and other destructive projects against the people and environment,” Te Hira noted. The forum participants affirmed solidarity on common struggles of Maori and Filipinos especially against mining corporations and big business causing massive community displacement and loss of ancestral domain in Aotearoa and Philippines. “In building women’s networks, we need to find linkages to strategies with those who have common desire to eliminate poverty and violence against women” Sykes adds.

“One hundred years after the declaration of the first International Women’s Day, the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) was founded on 16th August 2010 in Montréal, Canada immediately after the successful Montreal International Women’s Conference attended by more than 350 participants from 32 countries. Faced with global concerns including indigenous struggles, developmental aggression, violence against women, racism, discrimination and genocide, resistance to wars and imperialist aggression, IWA aims to foster the creation and coordination of local, regional and international campaigns, to promote mutual support and the sharing of resistance strategies, and to mobilize women around the world in the struggle against imperialism, violence and capitalist globalization,” Ledesma shared with the forum participants.

Ledesma enjoined the women of Aotearoa to join the first assembly of the International Women’s Assembly in July 2011 in the Philippines. The forum closed with the signing of the international petition calling on Philippine Pres. Benigno Aquino III to effect the immediate release of Morong 43 community health workers who have been illegally arrested, tortured and detained since 6th February, including 26 women, two of whom gave birth recently. Around 30 signatories include Titewhai Harawira – Ngapuhi, Maori Council NZ Annette Sykes – Lawyer and Activist, Catherine Delahunty - Member of Parliament, Green Party of Aotearoa, Lena Henry – Iwi Have Influence, Helen Te Hira - Auckland Philippines Solidarity, Ann Pala - Ethnix Links, students of Auckland University and members of various groups. #

Reference: Helen Te Hira aotearoasolidarity@gmail.com 09 280 3372 or 0272888894


Indigenous Muslim Solidarity Conference Melbourne

ASWAD and the Indigenous Muslims of Australia Network present


This is a special one-day conference for Muslims to be introduced to issues of social justice affecting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Australia, including Land Rights and the Northern Territory Intervention.

Featured Speakers:

For the last 40 years, Gary Foley has been at the centre of major political activities including the 1971 Springbok tour demonstrations, the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972, the Commonwealth Games protest in 1982, and more recently, the protests during the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations.  Late in life Foley became a student at the University of Melbourne where he studied history, cultural studies and computer science.  Between 2005 and 2008 he was a lecturer / tutor in the Education Faculty of University of Melbourne, and is about to complete a PhD in History at the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne.

Chris Graham is the former editor and founder of the National Indigenous Times newspaper, where he won a Walkley Award and a Walkley High Commendation for his reporting on Indigenous affairs.

In addition to discussing the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island, Chris will also be making a special presentation on Racism and the Media. A key part of this presentation is an expose about a fraudulent ABC Lateline program which aired in the lead-up to the Northern Territory Intervention.

"Lateline's reporting led directly to the greatest human rights abuse against Aboriginal people certainly of my time, and probably in the last half century.  The Northern Territory intervention has harmed Aboriginal people; it's caused starvation; it's seen a dramatic rise in reports of self-harm incidents; it's driven children away from school; it's wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. In short, it's been a disaster for the nation's most disadvantaged citizens, the people who could least afford it."


Date: Saturday, 27th November
Venue: Sidney Myer Asia Centre, Melbourne University, Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room, Level 1
Time: 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM 

Registration for this event is crucial, please email: aamer.rahman@gmail.com by the 20th of November.


Riots in Western Sahara

Riots in Western Sahara no media presence many dead and injured Monday 08 November 2010


Angela Davis on the Prison Abolishment Movement, Frederick Douglass, the 40th Anniversary of Her Arrest

For over four decades, Angela Davis has been one of most influential activists and intellectuals in the United States. An icon of the 1970s black liberation movement, her work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements for years. She is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a fugitive on the FBI’s Top 10 most wanted list forty years ago. Davis rose to national attention in 1969 when she was fired as a professor from UCLA as a result of her membership in the Communist party and her leading a campaign to defend three black prisoners at Soledad prison. Today she is a university professor and the founder of the group Critical Resistance, a grassroots effort to end the prison-industrial complex. This year she edited a new edition of Frederick Douglass’ classic work, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. We spend the hour with Angela Davis and play rare archival footage of her.


Government moves closer to privately run prisons

Popata brothers and co reoccupy Taipa land

Annette Sykes: Bruce Jesson Lecture 2010

Annette Sykes: Bruce Jesson Lecture 2010

Read full lecture as a .pdf file
Ki te kore koe e mau puu ana ki o tikanga me toou Mana Motuhake,
Kua ngaro koe ki te poouri otira e whai kee ana koe i ngaa tikanga a tetahi noatu When you fail to sustain your beliefs, sovereignty, freedom
You become lost to yourself as you are subsumed by those whose customs and practices you must now serve 

In 1980 following the furore which was engendered by the publication of the Maori Sovereignty articles, Bruce Jesson commented:
Essentially, Maori sovereignty is about the complete incompatibility of the Maori and Pakeha ways of life, and about how economic and political power has resolved this conflict in favour of the Pakeha.”
At the time there was a strident group of Maori radicals who readily identified with the concept of Maori Sovereignty and with Maori resistance to Pakeha intrusion into their territories, their values, their mindscapes and their landscapes.2 The core was drawn from an urban underclass from the communities of South Auckland, Hastings and Wellington. Their message was simple: Pakeha have colonised our hearts and our minds and have substituted our traditional systems and institutions with ones that Awatere described as exploitative, oppressive, dehumanised and spiritually deficient.3 It was time for the nation to turn the page on an era of greed, irresponsibility and injustice and an era of change was demanded.

To read full lecture as a .pdf file - CLICK HERE