20061006

 

The situation of indigenous peoples in tropical forests

Excerpt from report edited by Serge Bahuchet: "...The General Direction no. XI (Environment, Nuclear Security and Civil Protection) of the European Community Commission requested that a group of anthropologists from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Centre d'Anthropologie Culturelle) and the CNRS (Laboratoire des Langues et Civilisations à Tradition Orale, Paris) write up a report on the present situation of indigenous populations living in the tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin (Brazil, Peru, Bolivia), Central Africa (Congo, Zaire, Gabon) and South-East Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New-Guinea).
This report was to present detailed information on matters such as : location, size and social organization of a population; political organization, interaction with the national administrative system and political representation; economic organization and subsistence strategies, looking at whether the latter are dependent on the rainforest or not; role in regional, national and international economy; social status, problems related to health and schooling; human rights and their application; contacts with non-indigenous populations; threats and pressures indigenous populations have to put up with and the risks involved.
The report is divided into three sections : 1) a summary presenting an overall picture of the interactions between man and rainforest, followed by recommendations; 2) a set of dossiers and geographical studies, presenting the different ethnic groups and their way of life for each geographical area (the Amazon Basin of South America, Equatorial Africa, and South-East Asia plus Papua New Guinea); 3) an atlas of 15 plates placing all the indigenous populations within their ecological context..." NB: What the report may lack in country-specific detail, it makes up for in scope and provides the reader immediate insight to the common challenges, patterns and themes that face indigenous communities world-wide.

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