Category Archives: Control of land and natural resources

Control of land and natural resources is an important part of Harm through the market, thus this section.  First, Large land deals and violence and intimidation can wrest control from local people.  Secondly, land use for human products such as cattle and palm oil can threaten native species such as the orangutan. Also see Harming People – Keeping People Oppressed as people are killed and otherwise harmed defending their land.

Cover of 'Unworthy Republic' by Claudio Saunt Credit: W.W. Norton

Unworthy Republic: The dispossession of Native Americans and the road to Indian territory by Claudio Saunt

‘Unworthy Republic’ takes an unflinching look at Indian removal in the 1830s Jennifer Szalai New York Times March 24, 2020
Saunt’s book traces the expulsion of 80,000 Native Americans over the course of the 1830s, from their homes in the eastern United States to territories west of the Mississippi River….Saunt argues that Indian Removal was truly “unprecedented”; it was a “formal, state-administered process” designed to eliminate every native person to the east of the Mississippi — a systematic expulsion that would later serve as an ignominious model for other regimes around the world.

Cover of Unworthy Republic by Claudio Saunt. Credit W.W. Norton

Oppression and Exploitation News March 19 – 25

Control of land and natural resources 2020

Conflicts over indigenous land grow more violent in Central America Alexander Villegas and Frances Robles New York Times March 9, 2020
Faced with government inaction, some activists try to reclaim ancestral lands on their own. Often, they pay a high price.

Conflict 2020

USA and France dramatically increase major arms exports; Saudi Arabia is largest arms importer SIPRI March 9, 2020

Opposing oppression and injustice 2020

Darius Swann, lead plaintiff in Supreme Court busing case, dies at 95 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 23, 2020
He and his wife sued the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district in 1965 to send their son to an integrated N.C. school.

Betty Williams, Nobel laureate and leader of peace movement in Northern Ireland, dies at 76 Emily Langer Washington Post March 23, 2020
After witnessing the deaths of three children during the Troubles, she co-founded a campaign that drew thousands of protesters to the cause of peace.

Catherine Hamlin, OB/GYN who healed injured and ostracized mothers, dies at 96 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 22, 2020
She and her husband perfected surgical techniques to treat obstetric fistulas, a debilitating childbirth injury common in Ethiopia.

Charles Trimble, advocate for Native American rights, dies at 84 Katharine Q. Seelye New York Times March 20, 2020
He dedicated his life to advancing the tribal causes of self-determination, sovereignty and human rights.

Tex’ Harris, U.S. diplomat who exposed human rights abuses in Argentina, dies at 81 Matt Schudel Washington Post February 29, 2020
Sending reports through a special ‘dissent channel,’ he brought worldwide attention to the military junta’s ‘dirty war.’

José Zalaquett, champion of human rights in Pinochet’s Chile and around the world, dies at 77 Emily Langer Washington Post February 20, 2020
A Chilean lawyer, he was jailed and ultimately expelled from his country for his efforts on behalf of political prisoners and “disappeared” people.



Image: Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmeus pygmeus) and her baby in Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum national parks' corridor in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Credit: © WWF-Indonesia/Jimmy Syahirsyah

Control of land and natural resources 2020

Massacre in the Amazon Jesse Hyde Vanity Fair April 20, 2020
Jane de Oliveira set out to protect the world’s largest rain forest from the corporate interests that are burning it to the ground. Then the armed men showed up.

Conflicts over indigenous land grow more violent in Central America Alexander Villegas and Frances Robles New York Times March 9, 2020
Faced with government inaction, some activists try to reclaim ancestral lands on their own. Often, they pay a high price.

Biggest food brands ‘failing goals to banish palm oil deforestation’ Fiona Harvey The Guardian January 16, 2020
Palm oil: WWF name and shame top global buyers Oliver Balch The Guardian January 28, 2020
Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard (Summary) World Wildlife Fund January 2020

Image: Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmeus pygmeus) and her baby in Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum national parks’ corridor in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Credit: © WWF-Indonesia/Jimmy Syahirsyah

Land Matrix , an independent land monitoring intitiative, has useful information on large scale land acquisitions including an interactive map of large land deals and country profiles.

Continue reading
Environmentalists killed 2018 by country and sector. Credit: Global Witness.

How governments and business silence land and environmental defenders

Enemies of the State: How governments and business silence land and environmental defenders Global Witness July 2019

Calls to protect the planet are growing louder – but around the world, those defending their land and our environment are being silenced. More than three such people were murdered on average every week in 2018, with attacks driven by destructive industries like mining, logging and agribusiness. This year, our annual report on the killings of land and environmental defenders also reveals how countless more people were threatened, arrested or thrown in jail for daring to oppose the governments or companies seeking to profit from their land. These are ordinary people trying to protect their homes and livelihoods, and standing up for the health of our planet. Often their land is violently grabbed to produce goods used and consumed across the world every day, from food, to mobile phones, to jewellery. Continue reading.

Access full report.

Graphic. Environmentalists killed 2018 by country and sector. Credit: Global Witness.

Photo: Hamilton Lopes and his daughter, members of the Guarani indigenous community, stand in front of their hut. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

Control of land and natural resources 2019

Bitter aftertaste? Food companies could face costly disputes over land in Africa Adela Suliman Thompson Reuters Foundation February 24, 2019

Brazil to open indigenous reserves to mining without indigenous consent Sue Branford and Maurício Torres Mongabay March 14, 2019

Brazil agriculture minister wants to open indigenous land to commercial farming Jake Spring and Anthony Boadle Reuters January 18, 2019

Indigenous people, the first victims of Brazil’s new far-right government Mario Osava Inter Press Service January 10, 2019

Photo: Hamilton Lopes and his daughter, members of the Guarani indigenous community, stand in front of their hut, where their family lives a precarious existence on land that has not been demarcated, where they face threats of expulsion, on Brazil’s border with Paraguay. Large landowners seize the lands of the Guarani, the second-largest native community in the country, causing a large number of murders and suicides of indigenous people. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS See original article.

Argentina’s indigenous people fight for land rights Daniel Gutman Irin News January 12, 2019

Image: Mary Tembo displays her homegrown organic seeds at her farm in Chongwe, Zambia. Credit: Timothy A. Wise
Image: Mary Tembo displays her homegrown organic seeds at her farm in Chongwe, Zambia. Credit: Timothy A. Wise

Image: Mary Tembo displays her homegrown organic seeds at her farm in Chongwe, Zambia.
In December, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly approved the 
Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas The declaration formally extends human rights protections to farmers whose “seed sovereignty” is threatened by government and corporate practices. Credit: Timothy A. Wise

U.N. backs seed sovereignty in landmark peasants’ rights declaration Timothy Wise Foodtank December, 2018
“On December 17, the United Nations General Assembly took a quiet but historic vote, approving the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas, by a vote of 121-8 with 52 abstentions. The declaration, which was the product of some 17 years of diplomatic work led by the international peasant alliance La Via Campesina, formally extends human rights protections to farmers whose “seed sovereignty” is threatened by government and corporate practices. ”