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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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Posts with category: Indigenous Peoples

June 2, 2013

The Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh

by Brendan Welsh

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues logoI attended a side event of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which pertained to Article 30 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: an article addressing military activities on indigenous land. The event focused specifically on the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, home to over  half a million indigenous peoples of varying linguistic, tribal, and racial backgrounds.

Shapan Adnan, of the International CHT Commission, told us that before the 1997 CHT Peace Accord, the Bangladeshi government brought 400,000 non-indigenous people into the CHT in response to regional violence and insurgency. During ...

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June 2, 2013

Breaking the Silence on Violence against Indigenous Girls, Adolescents and Young Women

by Marissa Costello

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues logoBased on available country data, Say No UNiTE reports that, “up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime – the majority by husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.”

I was surprised to hear there is such violence against indigenous girls, adolescents and young women as well because different indigenous peoples speaking as a previous side event at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues called Indigenous Peoples and Freedom of Religion stated that women in particular were valued in their culture. I assumed somehow that indigenous women were more ...

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June 2, 2013

Protecting indigenous rights in the Philippines

by Brendan Welsh

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues logoFather Rex Reyes, Episcopal Priest and first Indigenous Person to be named General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP), was representing SKIPNet (Stop Killing Indigenous Peoples Network) at today’s side event of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Father Reyes said, “We understand our struggle within the framework of the doctrine of discovery [and] we are not calling for a return to the ways of the past. We just want people in the Philippines to share our resources and work together, so that all of us may enjoy the benefits ...

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May 31, 2013

Education and Indigenous Youth: Jahalin Bedouins

by Brendan Welsh

The Twelfth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is currently meeting at the United Nations. The NGO Working Group on Israel-Palestine held a video screening of Nowhere Left to Go and a related briefing on the Jahalin Bedouin in our office on May 22. The briefing again raised the question of indigenous parents concerned for the wellbeing of their children, particularly their education.

We were blessed to host Eid Jahalin of the Jahalin Bedouin people and Angela Godfrey-Goldstein of the Jahalin Association. Eid spoke to us about the struggles of his people living in the ...

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May 30, 2013

Indigenous Peoples and Freedom of Religion

by Marissa Costello

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues logoOn May 22, 2013 I attended a side event of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues entitled “Indigenous Peoples and Freedom of Religion.” Speakers included individuals who are members of various tribes such as the Apaches and Sand Hill Indians but individuals from NGOs also participated. People from all walks of life came to educate themselves on the issues that indigenous peoples face and what are the possible solutions to address these issues.

Three key speakers served on the indigenous peoples’ panel:  Roberto Mukaro Borrero, Chief Ronald Yonaguska Holloway, and Steven Gonzales. Mr. Borrero is a consultant ...

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