Corporate Justice

Incomindios participates in the campaign for corporate justice. For more information see here.

About us

Since 1974 the Swiss human rights organization Incomindios advocates for indigenous issues worldwide with a special focus on North, Central and South America. Since 2003, Incomindios holds consultative status at the UN (ECOSOC).

 

Incomindios has moved

Our new home and postal address is:

INCOMINDIOS
Wehntalerstrasse 124
8057 Zürich

Tel +41 (0)44 383 03 35
mail(at)incomindios.ch

 


Canada Still Discriminates Against First Nation Children

Indigenous children in Canada are not provided with the opportunity to succeed.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in January that the federal government of Canada discriminates against children on reserves.  On-reserve child welfare services receive 38% less funding than services for non-aboriginal children, despite greater needs for support on-reserve.  Less funding for family support means that children are removed from their families and placed in the welfare system, a practice comparable to the residential school system.

(First Nations Caring Society)

Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society, along with the Assembly of First Nations filed a complaint against Ottawa with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in February 2007.  In response, the federal government spent $5.3 million in legal fees fighting for the case to be thrown out.  The government’s self-protective motions eventually failed, and hearings finally began in 2013.  The tribunal found that the funding and management of First Nation children and family services adversely impacts and denies support for children and families living on reserves.

The lack of care and support for indigenous children is apparent across Canada.  In Manitoba, 2-year-old Violet Harper of the St. Theresa Point First Nation suffered terribly and died of a likely treatable medical condition.  The northern nursing station her mother visited 40 times before Violet’s death lacked an available physician or pediatrician.  In Ontario, suicide rates for First Nation children are more than 50 times the national average.  First Nation children in northern B.C. suffer abuse and neglect at an alarming rate.  Indigenous children and their families continue to struggle with the lasting impacts of colonialism and residential schools, as well as racism and discrimination in health care.

Ending discrimination requires that the department of Indigenous Affairs works together with the Assembly of First Nations and indigenous groups.  With increased funding and support, First Nations can deliver their own child welfare, and allow indigenous children the chance to thrive.

Toddler taken to nursing station 40 times, gets cancer diagnosis days before death, lawsuit says

First Nations losing ‘babies’ to suicide, chief says after 10-year-old dies

Canada discriminates against children on reserves, tribunal rules

Northern B.C. kids’ health outcomes ‘alarming’ says Northern Health


The Responsible Business Initiative: Respecting Human Rights and the Environment

A humanitarian crisis unfolding since the 1980s implicates illegal gold mining as the likely cause of widespread mercury poisoning affecting indigenous tribes across South America.  A child has died of suspected mercury poisoning in the recently contacted Nahua tribe of Peru, where 80% of individuals test positive for mercury.  Yanomami and Yekuana tribes in the Amazon rainforest also suffer from mercury poisoning, with over 90% being severely affected in one region.

Mercury poisoning can cause irreversible damage, including anemia and acute kidney failure.  Indigenous peoples ingest toxic mercury through drinking water and consuming fish sourced from polluted rivers.  The source of this pollution is potentially the illegal gold mines in the area, which use mercury in their gold-extraction processes.

© Johan Wildhagen

Incomindios condemns these illegal gold-mining practices that are poisoning the waters of South America.  In order to strengthen respect for human rights and the environment, Incomindios supports the Responsible Business Initiative.

Konzernverantwortungs-Initiative

The initiative was launched on April 21st 2015 by a broad coalition of Swiss civil society organisations, numbering 77 thus far.  These organisations encompass work in human rights, women’s rights, development aid, and environmental protection.  Churches, unions, and shareholders’ associations also support the initiative.

The aim of the Responsible Business Initiative is to regulate the obligations of Swiss-based companies so that internationally recognised human rights and international environmental standards are respected.  Companies must take measures to identify and prevent violations of human rights and the environment, or otherwise be held liable for damages caused by their business.

*Good News: The initiative for Corporation Responsibility initiative is submitted!*

In less than a year we have gathered 140’000 signatures together with other organizations. This is only possible thanks to the commitment of supporters  – thank you again!
The initiative will be submitted in the autumn. The way to vote is still long and steep, but together we can ensure that binding rules protecting human health and the environment finally apply to corporations.

To learn more about the Responsible Business Initiative, please visit the website.

Leading and supporting member organisations composing the coalition are listed here.

Peru: Mercury poisoning “epidemic” sweeps tribe

Mercury poisoning of Amazon Indians: alarming new statistics revealed


The Open Cut. Mining, Transnational Corporations and Local Populations

INFOE Switzerland published a compilation with 13 case studies on the social and environmental impacts of large-scale mining projects

The rapid expansion of the mineral and metal mining sector in the past decade was accompanied by an increase in social conflicts. What are the impacts of large-scale mining operations? What are the strategies used by transnational corporations to gain access to underground resources and legitimize their activities? And how do local and indigenous communities confronted with mining react to, negotiate with and resist these activities? This book covers 13 case studies of copper, gold, uranium and other mining operations, situated in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Switzerland. With an extensive introduction to the subject and a systematic comparison across mining operations in different phases of development and social contexts, it serves as a primer and reference book for activists, students and researchers alike.

Copies can be ordered directly from LIT Verlag:
http://www.litwebshop.de/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=12337

The Table of Content and the author’s list are available on www.infoe.ch


Police Abuse of Canadian Aboriginals

Shocking allegations of abuse in Quebec have renewed calls for an investigation into provincial police conduct.  Aboriginal women across the province are coming forward with their experiences of physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by Quebec police officers.

Carolyn Henry tells her story of being taken on a “Starlight Tour” nine years ago in Maniwaki, where she was attending a powwow.  Sûreté du Québec officers offered to drive Henry and her friend home from a bar one night, but instead of dropping the women off at their campsite, the police drove past and continued on for 45 minutes.  The two young indigenous women were left stranded at an abandoned gas station.

These Starlight Tours, whereby police drive aboriginal men and women to the outskirts of a city and abandon them there, can lead to tragedy in wintertime temperatures of -30 C.  Seventeen-year-old Neil Stonechild died this way in November 1990, after he was taken into police custody.  Stonechild was abandoned in a field, in an industrial area of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he succumbed to cold exposure.  His frozen body was found four days later.

The police closed their investigation into the Stonechild incident a mere week after his death, leaving many questions unanswered.  Thirteen years later, a nine-month inquiry was finally launched, the findings of which established police mistreatment of First Nations people.  Despite implementations to change police culture, indigenous Canadians continue to claim abuse and violation at the hands of police officers.  Kristen Wawatie says that an officer in Val-d’Or violated her in August 2012.  She describes how an officer put his hands in her pants and said that he could touch her when he wanted.  Lise Jourdan says that she was raped over 25 years ago by a police officer in Schefferville.

Kristen Wawatie (Radio-Canada)

Quebec’s public security ministry, responsible for inspecting police forces, has shown a lack of interest in the security of these aboriginal women.  Public Security Minister, Martin Coiteux, and the ministry’s prosecutors claimed to lack sufficient information regarding the allegations.  Chiefs and deputies within police departments display self-protective and defensive attitudes, rejecting and ignoring reports that cast doubt on the conduct of their own superficial and inadequate investigations.  Minister Coiteux and Quebec provincial police officers refused interview requests with Radio-Canada, preferring silence instead.

Investigation into the allegations of abuse is now handed over to the Montreal police.  As more women come forward claiming police abuse, Minister Coiteux now says the complaints will be followed up on, and a government response is promised.  A serious investigation is necessary, and those who protected police officers must face consequences.

More aboriginal women allege abuse at hands of Quebec provincial police

Commission of Inquiry Into Matters Relating to the Death of Neil Stonechild


Murder of Indigenous Leader Berta Cáceres

Honduran indigenous leader and environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot and killed in her home, just after midnight on Thursday March 3rd. In the weeks before her murder, Cáceres received death threats for her support of Lenca indigenous in their fight to protect the sacred River Gualcarque against construction of the Agua Zarca Dam.

The internationally-financed dam project was pushed through without consulting the Lenca peoples who depend on the river to provide water, food, and medicines. Despite their rights to sustainably manage and live off the land, these indigenous communities are violently uprooted to make way for destructive mining operations. Nearly 30% of the land in Honduras is under threat of dispossession for mining concessions.  Rivers are privatized to ensure swift approval of the dam projects that cheaply energize these operations.

As the general coordinator of Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH), Berta Cáceres bravely defended indigenous territorial rights protecting forests and rivers against illegal land developments. She opposed the regressive Honduran government that came to power in 2009 following a U.S.-supported coup.  The pro-development and pro-corporate coup congress handed Lenca community land over to Honduran Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA) and Chinese Sinohydro, the corporations slated to construct the Agua Zarca Dam.

In addition to undermining indigenous rights and environmental protections, the Honduran coup congress also attacks Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) and women’s reproductive rights. Following then president Manuel Zelaya’s attempt to legalize the morning-after-pill (MAP), the coup congress criminalized the MAP after coming to power. This in a country where abortion is already completely restricted. Journalists, judges, labour leaders, and human rights defenders in support of LGBT, environmental, and indigenous rights are tortured and assassinated under the militarized Honduran coup government. Many COPINH leaders, including Berta Cáceres, have been murdered.

Mainstream reports fail to mention U.S.-backing of the new government in Honduras, despite emails revealed by the State Department showing president Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew there was a coup. In defiance of international and U.S. house democrats’ condemnation of the coup, State Department officials blocked resolutions demanding that Manuel Zelaya be restored as president. Instead, Clinton supported elections in Honduras carried out under a dictatorship.

A fund set up in memory of Berta Cáceres will forward 100% of monies raised to COPINH so that the work she dedicated her life to can continue. https://www.culturalsurvival.org/donate/berta

Source: Murder of high-profile indigenous leader Berta Cáceres must trigger urgent investigation in Honduras https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/murder-high-profile-indigenous-leader-berta-caceres-must-trigger-urgent-investigation-honduras/


Campaign for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

The 9th of August is commemorated as the „International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples“.  It is estimated that there are approximately 370 million Indigenous spread across over 70 countries, reaching from the Arctic to the southern Pacific.

Aiming to promote the cultural diversity of Indigenous Peoples, Incomindios launched a photo campaign. People from all over the world (Canada, Finland, Peru, Switzerland, Rusia, Colombia, Singapur, El Salvador, China, Sweden, Chile, USA, Costa Rica, Nepal, Brazil, etc.) joined the campaign by sending their pictures displaying the name of an indigenous community and its country of origin.

The over hundred photos of our campaign are available under: www.facebook.com/incomindios


In Tomorrow We Believe – North American Filmfestival 21-24 January 2016

One of the festival guests: Fran Waln (Lakota), a Hip Hop Artist

In Tomorrow We Believe – this is the motto of the sixth North American Film Festival, which will take place from 21 to 24 January 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany. At the Treffpunkt Rotebühlplatz, Volkshochschule (vhs), the festival will showcase films by Native Americans and Inuits as film directors, actors and playwrights, in which they portray their culture and their way of life. The powerful, humorous and fascinating films put a spotlight on both the past and the present. The aim is to pursue the exemplary ideas developed by Indigenous Peoples in their way of life, and their unique understanding of nature, people and the way things interact. Indigenous Peoples are the memory of mankind. Their ideas could help us find solutions to make our shared world a better place to live in.

As always, some amazing guests are expected and a prize awarded in every category for the best film. Further information


Side Event organised by “Youth In Action” during the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Side Event at the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples