May 6, 2017
ADB Stop Violating Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous, tribal and forest communities: Stop Supporting Militarisation of our Territories
All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM) and its constituents join the celebration of resistance against the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its 50 years of existence in solidarity with the nationwide protests in India and elsewhere in the countries of Asia-Pacific.
ADB’s tryst with development finance exposes the neo-liberal model of development which uses public resources to promote capital and private corporates, maximizing profit, commodifying basic services, extracting natural resources by violating the rights of indigenous, tribal and local communities.
ADB’s so-called strategy of promoting pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable growth is a euphemism for fostering unsustainable and exploitative capitalism and a ploy to help sustain the crisis-laden private sector.
ADB’s increasing investment in infrastructure development in India and the involvement of private sector is a story of large scale violation of human rights, invasion of the ancestral homeland and territories of indigenous and tribal communities and taking over of peoples’ commons.
In the garb of boosting the wind and solar energy and reducing carbon footprint in the energy sector, ADB has facilitated grabbing of village commons, pasture, and grazing lands by private corporates in the States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. The same land grabbing projects, in turn, have made windfall profits from selling their carbon credits in the market while marginalized and vulnerable communities lose their vital economic activities.
The same formula is applied to coastal communities and the fisherfolks where their habitat, commons, and livelihood is destroyed through coastal infrastructure and tourism infrastructure projects.
The most damaging footprint that ADB has, today, is in the road sector, where its investment is the largest, to facilitate extraction of natural resources, trade and corridors connecting industrial and trading centers across Indian states, especially in the forested tribal homelands and territories of central India and the north-east.
The highways and widened state and district roads have opened up the forests to private capital and corporates, displacing communities, violating their rights over resources and destroying their livelihood systems.
ADB has continued with its investment knowing full well that both the state and central governments, while diverting forest lands for road projects, are violating the country’s own legislation, the Forest Rights Act 2006, PESA 1996 and also the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by doing away with the consent of the communities and undermining the power of the Gram Sabhas (Village Councils). Forests are cleared, trees are felled in ADB funded road projects where neither the rights of the forest dwelling communities are settled or their consent is taken.
This week’s protest in central India and the northeast shows that communities are resisting ADB’s incursion in the forests and the territories of the tribal and forest dwelling communities. Such resistance is increasingly dealt with State repression, arrest and murder of tribal activists.
ADB, along with the Government of India, is fully responsible for increasing state repression over communities resisting such illegal and unlawful incursion into their territories and growing militarisation in central India and the north-east.
AIFFM demands that ADB desists from implementing such projects which violate human rights and rights of communities over their resources and undermine their collective governance and withdraw its investments from such areas.
While our communities and people are already struggling against our own Governments, we also demand that ADB should stop supporting such anti-poor, anti-people policies of the Governments.
Our Peoples and Communities will be Better off Without ADB.
North Bengal Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers
Vidharbha Van Adhikar Sanghatana
Baiga Adhikar Shakti Sangathan
Baiga Mahila Sangathan
Lok Adhikar Shakti Sangathan
All India Forum of Forest Movements