1,000 signatures reached
To: Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Arjun Munda, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs; National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Don’t dilute the Forest Rights Act, 2006
Forest Rights Act, 2006 must continue to be implemented in its current form without any dilutions
Why is this important?
Update - July 25, 2019
The SC did not hear the case against the Forest Rights Act. As the eviction order is still on hold, forest officials still try to continue to evict people on the basis of this suspended order. Both the Central and State governments need to implement and defend this historic legislation.
In December 2006, the Parliament passed the Forest Rights Act to address the historical injustices meted out to tribals and traditional forest dwellers, and to recognise their rights over forest lands.
The Act was hailed the world over as a step forward for conservation and justice. Using this law, forest communities across the country have been resisting monoculture plantations, protecting wildlife habitats, challenging pollution of soil and water sources, and opposing forest destruction from commerce and industry.
Cut to 2019, the Central Government is now attempting to dilute and violate the act, denying tribals’ their rights and disempowering them.
Here’s a quick timeline of what transpired:
-- On February 13 2019, the Supreme Court passed a controversial order directing states to evict 2 million forest dwellers, after the Tribal Affairs Ministry pointed out that the process of settling their claims left a lot to be desired.
-- After widespread protests from activists and environmental collectives, the SC temporarily suspended the implementation of the order on February 28.
-- It asked state governments to submit detailed information on whether due process was followed; if tribals got a fair opportunity to present their claims; and also file appeals against the rejection of their claims.
-- The next Supreme Court hearing is on July 24.
As Mr Xavier Kujur of the All-India Front for Forest Rights Struggles (AIFFRS) put it, instead of implementing the Forest Rights Act, the government is attempting to take back the rights of Adivasis on forests. Conservation and livelihood are both important when it comes to the governance of India's forests.
Forty three organisations fighting climate change, from 24 countries (Peru, France, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, South Africa, UK) around the world, believe that the government is threatening the fight against climate change by attacking the rights of tribals and forest dwellers. “The protection of local communities’ rights over forests and land is a crucial weapon in the fight against climate change,” said the organisations in a statement.
This campaign calls upon the Government to refrain from such steps, to vigorously defend the Forest Rights Act in court, and to ensure that all legal and policy changes strengthen the rights of local and indigenous communities rather than weakening them.
Sign this campaign now.