To the friends from International NGOs, community groups and social movements at the CBD alliance.
As you are by now aware that the Indian Parliament has enacted the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (popularly known as Forest Rights Act) in 2006 to undo historical injustice meted out to the forest communities India and to restore and recognize their rights over their forests, especially the community forest rights over their common resources.
While the FRA is the right step towards recognizing and recording the rights of the forest communities to protect their own forests, biodiversity and livelihood, we are deeply concerned that the Act is not being implemented true to its spirit. Millions of claims are being rejected without citing any reason and/or lying un-disposed; there is a deep resistance to handing over the control and governance of the forests to the forest communities on the part of the forest department officials, and move on from a centralized forest governance model to that of a more decentralized one.
Similarly, the forest communities are being forcibly thrown out from and relocated out of the Protected Areas (PAs) in the name of wildlife conservation and tiger reserves, in complete violation of the FRA and agreed International Protocols.While this is being done, market-basedtourism is being allowed in an unregulated manner citing conservation as the excuse.
A more blatant violation is happening where a large number of forest communities are thrown out of their lands and their lands taken over forcibly for development projects such as mining, mega dams, thermal power plants without their consent – again in violation of the order of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) circulated in August 2009, and the FRA.
The struggling forest communities in India need your support and we, therefore, request you to sign/endorse a letter to the Prime Minister of India demanding full implementation of the FRA and to stop illegal relocation of the forest communities from the PAs.
We on our part have attempted to put together a draft letter to the Prime Minister of India mentioning the major issues involved for your inputs and endorsement.
All India Forum of Forest Movements
Jharkhand Jangal BachaoAndolan
North Bengal Forum of Forest People & Forest Workers
Adivasi Janajati Adhikar Mancha
Sunderban Banshramajibi Mancha
Focus on the Global South India
Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha
143 Khirki Village
New Delhi – 110 017
Tel (R) 91 11 29541502
Mobile 91 9818147740