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Al-Uqbi decision by Israeli Supreme Court

June 7th, 2015

Background and Critique — Supreme Court Decision on Al-Uqbi vs the State of Israel, May, 2015 (English and Hebrew)

Debunking the ’Dead Negev Doctrine’, by Oren Yiftachel, Ahmad Amara and Sandy Kedar, Haaretz, 31 December 2013.

Marhaba friends, you may have heard that a few days ago the israeli supreme court rejected the appeal by the al-Uqbis for the native lands. The decision is very harsh, denying every one of the historical and legal claims, relying on what we called ‘the dead negev doctrine’ – which made it all but impossible for Bedouins to prove ‘rightful’ ownership. The decision actually acknowledges that the tribe ‘roamed’ in the area for hundreds of years, but because it didn’t apply for permission from the ottomans, nor registered the land in 1921 or proved beyond doubt the continuous cultivation of the land in question for at least 15 years – it has not ownership of the land and is therefore a trespasser.

The decision (attached, for Hebrew readers) is long and heavy, referring to dozens of previous court decisions. It almost totally ignores the 11 Bedouin witnesses, who gave full account of the history, way of life, cemeteries, cultivation etc. they are mentioned only twice in the 63 page decision, in order to show that they have contradictions about the existence of a school or about the pattern of cultivation. Their story is silenced. Another ‘silencing’ is the rejection of the court to accept a document we found – a survey of the jewish development fund (hachsharat hayeshuv) that lists the al-Uqbis in 1919 as cultivation over 10000 dunams. We attempted to submit it, but it was not allowed on procedural grounds. The court repeats many of the statement made by prof. Kark as truthful and insightful, and the previous Badran (1962), Hawashleh (1984) precedent decisions, that rejects the Bedouin way of life as having any settlements. The court also rejected the indigeneity of the Bedouins and slammed the expert witnesses over small footnote or coordinate mistakes, while not dealing with their content seriously.

I know there is a relative lack of publications until now on the subject. Some of use published critical articles about this doctrine and past decisions but there are mainly in Hebrew. I can send them if you wish. The book by Amara, Kedar and myself is coming out (hopefully next year) in English… an effort should be made now to publish more in Arabic and English to expose the anti-democratic and colonial nature of these rulings.

Of course, the long decision has to be read in detail and responded to. It’s a shameful chapter in Israel’s high court history. Together with the Susya and Um Al-Hiran decisions, given in the previous week, our people are calling this ‘Black May’ for any glimpse of indigenous rights on the lands they have inhabited and cultivated for generations. The only ‘positive’ is that the true face of this court is exposed, and that the campaign should take different routes – both focusing on alternative planning and returns (as we have done in the negev for over a decade) or on international and academic forums to expose the colonial nature of these decisions.

In the meantime, the Israeli weekend media, esp. the rightwing (Maariv, Yisrael Hayom etc.) the decision is celebrated, naturally.

Another sad, and almost unbelievable aspect, is that Salem Jubran, the only Arab judge on the bench, joined and approved the decision.

This is a low point, which caused many in the Naqab to rethink their strategies. However, the struggle is long, and will take different tacks in the near future. The rise of the fourth Netanyahu government and the appointment of settlers to deal with the Bedouin issue mean that it will ignite again very soon, including the reintroduction of the Prawer Plan. We have to be ready.

A ray of light in the darkness is of course the vast amount of material we have found, from Turkish, Israeli, Palestinian and British archives and private sources. This collection shows beyond doubt the continuous existence and rights of the Uqbis in particular and the Naqab Arabs in general, and will be now used in the steps ahead. Of course, I need to thank you all again for helping us with this big project. Shukran jazelan, with the belief that the truth will prevail sooner than later.

Oren Yiftachel
Head, Dept. of Multidisciplinary Studies
Professor of Geography, Ben-Gurion University, Beersheba, Israel
Lloyd Hurst Family Chair in Urban Studies


Indigenous pastoralists evicted in Ethiopia, reports Human Rights Watch

June 18th, 2012

(Nairobi)The Ethiopian government is forcibly displacing indigenous pastoral communities in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo valley without adequate consultation or compensation to make way for state-run sugar plantations, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report contains previously unpublished government maps that show the extensive developments planned for the Omo valley, including irrigation canals, sugar processing factories, and 100,000 hectares of other commercial agriculture.

The 73-page report, “ ‘What Will Happen if Hunger Comes?’: Abuses against the Indigenous Peoples of Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley,”documents how government security forces are forcing communities to relocate from their traditional lands through violence and intimidation, threatening their entire way of life with no compensation or choice of alternative livelihoods. Government officials have carried out arbitrary arrests and detentions, beatings, and other violence against residents of the Lower Omo valley who questioned or resisted the development plans.

“Ethiopia’s ambitious plans for the Omo valley appear to ignore the rights of the people who live there,” said Ben Rawlence, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “There is no shortcut to development; the people who havelong relied on that land for their livelihood need to have their property rights respected, including on consultation and compensation.”

The Lower Omo valley, one of the most remote and culturally diverse areas on the planet, is home to around 200,000 people from eight unique agro-pastoral communities who have lived there for as long as anyone can remember. Their way of life and their identity is linked to the land and access to the Omo River. The Omo valley is in Ethiopia’s Southern Peoples, Nations, and Nationalities Region (SNNPR), near the border with Kenya, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.

The significant changes planned for the Omo valley are linked to the construction of Africa’s highest dam, the controversial Gibe III hydropower project, along the Omo River. Downstream, the sugar plantations will depend on irrigation canals. Although there have been some independent assessments of the Gibe dam project, to date, the Ethiopian government has not published any environmental or social impact assessments for the sugar plantations and other commercial agricultural developments in the Omo valley.

Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 35 residents in June 2011, along with 10 donor officials and at least 30 other witnesses since that time. At the time of Human Rights Watch’s visit, military units regularly visited villages to intimidate residents and suppress dissent related to the sugar plantation development. Soldiers regularly stole or killed cattle.

“What am I going to eat?” a man of the Mursi ethnic group told Human Rights Watch. “They said to take all my cattle and to sell them and to only tie one up at my house. What can I do with only one? I am a Mursi. If hunger comes I shoot a cow’s neck and drink blood. If we sell them all for money how will we eat?”

The evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch since its visit demonstrates that in the past year regional officials and security forces have forcibly seized land from indigenous communities living and farming within the areas slated for sugar production. Reports of forced displacement and the clearing of agricultural land have gathered pace.

Access to the Omo River is critical for the food security and way of life of the pastoralists who live in the valley. Several community representatives said that state officials had told them, without any other discussion, that the communities would need to reduce the number of their cattle and resettle in one place, and that they would lose access to the Omo River.

As of June 2012, irrigation canals have been dug, land has been cleared, and sugar production has begun along the east bank of the river. Government maps photographed by Human Rights Watch indicate that the area where sugar cultivation is under way is a fraction of what is labeled as “Sugar Block One.” Two additional “blocks” of land that will be taken for sugar cultivation are to follow. Ethiopia’s existing assessments of the impact of the Gibe dam do not include the impact of sugar cultivation and irrigation on the flow of the Omo River, or the downstream impact on Lake Turkana. The massive network of irrigation canals indicated on the maps suggests that the previous assessments are insufficient.

The full implementation of the plan could affect at least 200,000 people in the Omo valley and another 300,000 Kenyans living across the border around Lake Turkana, which derives up to 90 percent of its water from the Omo River. Human Rights Watch said Kenya should press for new environmental and social impact assessments that examine the cumulative impact of the Gibe III dam and the irrigated commercial agriculture scheme.

These developments – which threaten the economic, social, and cultural rights of the Omo valley’s indigenous inhabitants – are being carried out in contravention of domestic and international human rights standards, which call for the recognition of property rights, with meaningful consultation, consent, and compensation for loss of land, livelihoods, and food security, and which state that displacement, especially of indigenous peoples from their historic homelands, must be treated as an absolute last resort.

The rights of indigenous peoples are addressed by Ethiopia’s own laws and constitution, as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and regional human rights treaties and mechanisms such as the African human rights charter as interpreted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Under these laws and agreements, indigenous peoples have property rights over the land they have historically occupied that must be recognized by the state, and they can only be displaced with their free, prior, and informed consent. Even when such consent is given, they must also be fully compensated for any loss of land, property, or livelihood.

In fact, Ethiopia has not recognized any rights over the land of the indigenous communities of the area, including tenure security, Human Rights Watch found. Neither has it taken steps to adequately consult with, let alone seek the consent of, the indigenous peoples of the Omo valley, in particular taking into account the scant formal education of most of the population.

The Ethiopian government has responded to concerns raised by Human Rights Watch by noting that the plantations will bring benefits to the indigenous populations in the form of employment. Employment may be a welcome benefit for affected communities. But the prospect of some jobs does not remove the urgent need for the government to suspend plantation development until rigorous assessments have been carried out, the rights of the indigenous communities over their land has been recognized and consent sought, and any displacement or acquisition of land is shown to be strictly necessary, proportionate, and compensation provided, Human Rights Watch said.

Many international nongovernmental organizations have raised concerns about potential social and environmental impacts of the Gibe III hydropower project and have criticized the Ethiopian government for a lack of transparency and independent assessment. The Ethiopian government withdrew its request of the World Bank and African Development Bank for financing of the Gibe dam project but has not publicized its reasons for doing so. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has recommended suspending the project pending further independent evaluation of the effect on Lake Turkana.

The Ethiopian government relies on international aid for a significant percentage of its budget. Security forces and officials from the regional and district administrations are implementing the plans for the sugar plantations and telling local residents they must move, without any consultation or recognition of their rights. A multi-donor funded program called Protection of Basic Services (PBS) provides hundreds of millions of dollars to support health, education, and other sectors and funds the salaries of district government officials across Ethiopia, including SNNPR region. The main donors to PBS are the World Bank, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the Netherlands, and Germany.

Human Rights Watch called on the Ethiopian government to suspend the construction of Gibe III and the associated sugar plantations until these developments can be carried out in a manner consistent with national laws and international human rights standards. The Ethiopian government should recognize the rights of the Omo valley’s indigenous communities over their historic homelands and engage in meaningful discussion with them over the future use of their land and compensation on that basis, prior to further industrial development in South Omo. Donors should ensure their funding is not supporting forced displacement or unlawful expropriation of indigenous lands, Human Rights Watch said.

“Ethiopia’s desire to accelerate economic development is laudable, but recent events in the Omo valley are taking an unacceptable toll on the rights and livelihoods of indigenous communities,” Rawlence said. “The government should suspend the process until it meets basic standards, and donors should make sure their aid is not facilitating abuses.”

Selected Accounts from “What Will Happen if Hunger Comes”

“People disagree with the government on the sugar, but are afraid of the possible use of force to resettle people and so do not say much. big fear of government here. If you express concern, you go to jail.”

– Bodi man, June 2011.

“There will be a problem during the dry season. Now there is water, but when there isn’t if we do not go back to Omo we will need government to bring water. If they do not, and our cattle will die. We will go to Omo anyway, if not, we will die, they can kill us there if they want.”

– Mursi villager, June 2011.

“What am I going to eat? They said to take all my cattle and to sell them and to only tie one up at my house. What can I do with only one? I am a Mursi. If hunger comes I shoot a cow’s neck and drink blood. If we sell them all for money how will we eat? When we get married we marry with cattle. What will we marry with? What will we eat? When hunger comes what will we feed our children with? If we just keep chickens will we eat soup or milk them…? ‘This land is my land,’ say the highland Ethiopians. ‘Run to the forest like a baboon.’”

– Mursi man describing the importance of cattle, December 2011.

“They cleared out their gardens. They cleared far and dug up their sorghum. The sorghum was near ripening; a truck plowed it and cast it away. The Kwegu gardens were plowed and some Kwegu are now without anything. If their sorghum is plowed what are they going to eat? What will they give to their kids?”

– Man describing what happened to Bodi and Kwegu farmland that was cleared in December 2011.

“There will be big problems in the areas if all the cattle are given to the government. What will these people eat, now the drought is really badly affecting the Horn of Africa? Now the dam has been built, no water in the river, land has been taken away, the cattle given to the government, what will happen to the poor people in time of the famine? Those people who want to wipe out the pastoralists eat three times a day. What will happen if hunger comes?”

Human Rights Watch Press release

– Mursi man, May 2011.


China plans to end nomadic life
June 5th, 2012

Radio Free Asia

A U.S.-based rights group has hit out at plans by the Chinese government to force three ethnic minority groups to abandon the last traces of their nomadic lifestyles in the next three years.

"The Chinese Government continues to aggressively pursue and expand its national project for displacing nomadic herders off their traditional lands and resettling them in agricultural and urban areas," the Southern Mongolia Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.

Citing a statement posted on the official website of China's central government, the group said it marked "a major and seemingly final step toward eliminating the remaining population of nomad herders and eradicating the thousands of years-old nomadic way of life in China."

SMHRIC, which campaigns for the rights of ethnic Mongols in China's Inner Mongolia region, said the resettlement policies would affect nomadic herders in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet.

It said the statement confirmed Beijing's determination "to permanently end the nomadic way of life of these regions."

"The Party Central Committee and the State Council have especially emphasized the socio-economic development of pastoral areas, bringing a remarkable improvement to the herders’ living conditions and mode of production, causing the majority of herders to be resettled in static locations," the government announcement said.

It said China's 12th Five-Year Plan aims to resettle the remaining nomad population of 1.157 million people by 2015.

Broken commitments

SMHRIC said these policies violate China's obligations under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

According to the Declaration, "indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories."

Experts say that deep-seated cultural ties to the grasslands and traditional nomadic ways of life lay behind a wave of protests that swept across Inner Mongolia in May 2011.

Chinese authorities poured armed police and security forces into Inner Mongolia to contain protests sparked by the death of a herdsman from the Shiliin-Gol (in Chinese, Xilin Meng) region who was run over during clashes with mine company trucks.

Thousands of students were locked in campuses at major schools, colleges, and universities in the regional capital, Hohhot, following demonstrations by hundreds of ethnic minority Mongolians across the region.

Mongolian commentators said the protests reflect a deep and widespread anger over continuing exploitation of the region's grasslands, the heartland of Mongol culture

Environmental destruction

Environmentalists point to large-scale environmental destruction in Inner Mongolian regions where mining is taking place, as well as to more subtle ecological pressures in other areas.

Open-cast, or strip, mining is one of the most environmentally destructive forms of mining, destroying the surface ecosystem over a wide area and releasing pollutants into the air.

Ethnic Mongolians, who make up almost 20 percent of Inner Mongolia's 23 million population, complain of destruction and unfair development policies in the region, which is China's largest producer of coal. The overwhelming majority of the residents are Han Chinese.

Ninety percent of China's 400 million hectares (988 million acres) of grassland now show some degree of environmental degradation, according to official figures, and the government has pointed to over-grazing by nomads as a key contributing factor.

Last year, Beijing rolled out a slew of tax breaks and funding for enterprises in rural areas that implement environmentally friendly programs and technological innovations in the field.

But SMHRIC and other overseas campaigners have said that Chinese authorities and companies are continuing to exploit the grassland in spite of slogans like "grassland protection" and "economic growth."

Reported by Luisetta Mudie.
Copyright © 1998-2011 Radio Free Asia. All rights reserved.


Dana + 10 Workshop April 10-14, 2012
March 17th, 2012

Mobile indigenous peoples (e.g. pastoralists, hunter-gatherers, some swidden agriculturalists) have sustainably managed the land they live on for centuries. However, in the name of biodiversity conservation, some have been displaced, dispossessed and expelled from their traditional territories and left destitute and culturally impoverished. While these practices have been largely discarded in rhetoric by biodiversity conservation agencies, progress in human rights observance and land restitution has lagged behind new thinking on the relationship between people and protected areas. Thus, local and national policy and institutional change in the field have not kept pace with advances in thinking at the international level; nor do they always live up to public declarations of concern for human rights.

The Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford Department of International Development (QEH), University of Oxford, has worked with other bodies to address the concerns regarding the welfare of mobile indigenous peoples in biodiversity conservation. A key product was the Dana Declaration on Conservation and Mobile Peoples in 2002, with guidelines for a complementary strategy for both protected areas and meeting human needs (see annex).

Ten years after the Dana Declaration on Mobile Peoples and Conservation was agreed in Wadi Dana, Jordan, it is time to follow up on the achievements of the past decade and consider the future.  Working with the representatives of the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples –WAMIPand others similar groups,  the Dana + 10 workshop  will, among other outputs, develop a statement to be delivered at the Rio+20 meetings in June 2012 to continue to  promote the  human rights of mobile indigenous people in the context of biodiversity conservation and  democratic environmental governance in the face of continuing  expansion of protected areas, land grabbing, and further dispossession. The workshop ultimately aims to continue to raise and maintain awareness of the special vulnerabilities and needs of mobile indigenous peoples.  


Tuareg Emergency
March 17th, 2012

According to UNHCR, fighting between Tuareg rebels of MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) and government forces resumed on January 17 in Mali, in violation of an agreement concluded in 2009 that had formally ended the Tuareg rebellion.

UNHCR has deployed emergency teams in countries surrounding Mali to help take care of the needs of more than 20,000 people who were forced to flee fighting in northern Mali.

The majority of the displaced people are in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. The fighting between Tuareg rebel groups and government forces in the region in northern Mali Azawad began in mid-January. "These past three weeks, at least 10,000 people have crossed the border into Niger. Some 9,000 of them found refuge in Mauritania and 3,000 in Burkina Faso," said a UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards, during a press conference in Geneva.

In Niger, most newcomers are from Menaka, Mali. Some took refuge near the border, which is plagued by instability. Among the newcomers, many are sleeping in the open. Very few have access to shelter or clean water, health services and food. "Most people who have recently fled Mali are Malians. Among the recent arrivals in Niger, there are also Nigerian nationals who have lived in Mali for decades. Many have been crossing between the two countries to find pasture for their flocks," said the spokesman.

Local communities along the border, themselves affected by the food crisis in the Sahel, are sharing their resources with the newcomers. The authorities have also distributed food. "A group of four additional staff from UNHCR are already in Niger and even more are on their way. We are about to send aid to 10,000 people from our warehouses in the region," said Edwards.

"Our office in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, also reported the arrival of some 3,000 Malian Tuaregs after attacks last week against their homes and business in Bamako, the Malian capital, and in the nearby town of Kati. Many among these newcomers, are staying with host families in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso, 320 kilometers southwest of the capital. Others are in the northwest of the country, including Djibo, in the province of Soum. An inter-agency mission, including UNHCR, will visit the site at the end of the week to assess the needs of these people," he added.

Meanwhile, in Mauritania, the UNHCR has sent several missions to the village of Fassala in the region of Hodh, and Chargi, which is three kilometers from the border with Mali, where more than 9,000 people have arrived since January 25. The refugees, mainly Malian Tuaregs, are native to the area of Lere on the other side of the border. They told UNHCR they fled fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels, fearing reprisals from armed units.

The Mauritanian authorities, with UNHCR support, are providing assistance to newcomers. Health care is provided by local clinics, and drinking water is being trucked in by the authorities. UNHCR in Mauritania is distributing food rations and non-food items for 15 days, to cover the urgent needs of 5,000 refugees in the refugee site of Fassala. The key needs that were identified are: food, shelter and other essential items. "UNHCR will strengthen its presence in Mauritania by deploying an emergency team on the ground," said the spokesman for the UN agency.

No-one really can say how many more refugees have now left Mali. The internally displaced are most probably enduring the greatest violence and hardship since they are being attacked from all sides. The areas of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal are cut off and as far as I know there is no media presence whatsoever to report on the situation. Tuareg sources in Mali have informed there is a large number of stranded women and children without any means of transport to leave the country and escape the violence.

Recent reports on the situation in Fassala refugee camp on 07/02/12 is very critical since the water pump is not working. Figures are as follows:

Total population: 10,000 divided in 2,244 families 
Pregnant women: 98
Pregnant women at risk: 12
Non-vaccinated children: 323
Cases of moderate malnutrition: 69 
Cases of severe malnutrition: 12
Total children aged 0 to 5: 2,277


Selection of Articles from Nomadic Peoples to be published in a Chinese-language Anthology
April 20th, 2011

Dear All,

I am delighted to inform you of the launch of a new project resulting from the collaboration of Nomadic Peoples, Berghahn Publishers, the Ford Foundation, and the Centre for Rural Environmental Social Studies (CRESS) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

During the last thirty years, China’s grassland has experienced dramatic changes, including land privatization, implementation of 'carrying capacity' measurements, promotion of intensive livestock breeding, and reconstruction of social relationships, which have had significant impact on both the ecosystem and the herders’ livelihoods. Today, Chinese scholars are intensifying research on the grasslands, and are eager to know about similar experiences in other countries. As the journal most consistently concerned with anthropological and ethnological research of the dryland pastoralism for the last thirty-years, and therefore a source of valuable theoretical thinking and case studies, Nomadic Peoples was contacted by CRESS for a project of translation into Chinese supported by the Ford Foundation.

The project involves the translation of thirty articles from the whole NP archive, to be published into an anthology in three volumes with the title 'Transition and Modernity of Nomadic Society'. Volume 1 will be devoted to Mongolia, volume 2 to Africa and volume 3 will collect significant articles on other countries. Each volume will be structured into a range of topics: risk management, land tenure, market development, herders’ livelihood, grassland degradation and so on. The volume of Mongolia is due to be published by the end of this year, and the other two will be published respectively in 2012 and 2013.

An brief introduction describing the history, goal, and activity of Nomadic Peoples will be included in each of the volumes.


Bio-cultural diversity conserved by Indegenous Peoples & Local Communities
Oct 25 2010

The Companion document to IUCN/CEESP Briefing Note No.1 can be found here [pdf]


IUAES Inter-Congress 2010 Turkey
Dec 17 2009

From the Crossroads of Civilizations: Understanding Cultural Diversity to Connect Societies

Concerning 2010 IUAES Inter-Congress Antalya, Turkey

The Ahi Evran University Department of Anthropology is proud to announce to you the 2010 IUAES Inter-Congress to be held October 3-6 2010 in Antalya, Turkey.

Since our approval to host the congress, preparations and arrangements have been conducted in collaboration with various anthropology departments, professors, and graduate students across Turkey. Our collaborative efforts promise to bring a diverse, exciting, and informative Inter-Congress.

Turkey’s location at a point where three continents of the old world are closest to each other and where Asia and Europe meet has served as a crossroads that is one of the few areas that has been continuously inhabited since the dawn of mankind. The archeological richness is a telling measure of the human history of cultural interaction, conflict, and integration that shape the region. Since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1925 anthropology as a discipline has assumed an important role in understanding and theorizing cultural exchanges between ethnically, linguistically, and religiously diverse Anatolian peoples and their neighbors; we are honored to strengthen this legacy with IUAES.

We believe that the physical and metaphorical bridge that Turkey embodies creates an optimum perspective from which to approach, investigate, and share with one another methods for exploring key anthropological subjects: cultural diversity, multiculturalism, migration, transnationalism, the other, belonging, and religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, and gender. With this in mind, the general theme for the Inter-Congress has been chosen as follows: "From the Crossroads of Civilizations: Understanding Cultural Diversity to Connect Societies". We plan to touch on some of the biggest challenges to understand the individual and human societies in the age of global capitalism: the rapid movement from rural to urban, emigration, and transnational networks. We anticipate a diversity of papers and poster presentations from all the regions of the world on anthropological and ethnological subjects. Abstract submissions will be accepted April 15 – July 1, 2010 and notifaciton of acceptance will be given August 1, 2010. All abstracts can be e-mailed to the organization commitee listed below.

Ancient Antalya (Attaleia) was regarded as “the most beautiful place in the world.” Today’s Antalya, just as beautiful, is a sprawling modern city with a small, charming historic core, a good archeology museum, many ancient Lycian, Pisidian, and Pamphylian sites, a long sunny beach, the Turquoise coast’s best hotels, and many dramatic sea and mountain views. The conference will be held at the Atlantis Hotel, 40 km from downtown and 35 km from Antalya International Airport (www.celebi-ic.com / www.aytport.com). Your best option for travel may be Turkish Airlines (www. thy.com). Preparations for the organization of events and travel are being made through ASTERYA travel company (www.asterya.com). The early registration deadline is August 20, 2010. Online registration through ASTERYA will be available then. Three days preceeding and following the conferance excursions will be arranged to various sites in Antalya, Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus. According to our budget we will aim to support some scholars with financial constraints.

We anticipate the 2010 IUAES Inter-congress will be an actualization of our commitment to the generation and dissemination of scientific knowledge that we share with the IUAES and European College of Anthropological Sciences.

Regular Participant     170.-Euro       220.-Euro
Student Participant*   130.-Euro       180.-Euro

Congress President:
Erksin GÜLEÇ [email protected]  

Organization Committee: 
Anna Heumann [email protected]
Ferhat Kaya [email protected]


IUAES 2009 Commission on Nomadic Peoples
Jul 25 2009

The schedule for the 2009 IUAES academic sessions is available here[PDF].


Winner for Humboldt Research Award
Mon Jun 08 2009

The Commission on Nomadic Peoples has the honour to announce that a member of the CNP - Prof. Dr. James Terrence McCabe- has been elected the recipient of a Humboldt Research Award after having been nominated for this award by the German scientist Prof. Dr. Michael Bolling, University of Cologne, Institut für Ethnologie.

This award is conferred in recognition of lifetime achievements in research. In addition, the awardee is invited to carry out research projects of his own choice in cooperation with specialist colleagues in Germany. We hope that thereby the international scientific cooperation will be further promoted.

You will find further information on the website: http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/7806.html


Mobile Indigenous Peoples and the World Conservation Congress, Barcelona
5-14 October, Barcelona, Spain

IUCN World Conservation Congress

The Standing Committee of the Dana Declaration on Mobile Peoples and Conservation (www.danadeclaration.org), based at the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford Department of International Development is are pleased to announce that the Dana Declaration on Mobile Peoples was endorsed by the 5th World Conservation Congress (IUCN) in Barcelona, Spain in Resolution CGR4.MOT126 on Monday October 13th, 2008. This endorsement a significant step in furthering the profile of the Dana Declaration internationally and regionally in supporting the special vulnerabilities and needs of mobile peoples both in the context of the international indigenous peoples movement as well as in national and regional assemblies.


Mursi Update
June 2008

This is an update on the current situation of the Mursi and the, at least, six other Ethnic groups, the Suri, Dizi, Me'en, Kwegu, Bodi and Nyangatom affected by the Omo National Park, Ethiopia. I spent three months with the Mursi, until May of this year.

African Parks Foundation (APF) says that the east bank of the Omo River will be left alone and the boundaries of the park follow the water's edge along the west bank of the Omo River, leaving all of the water of the Omo within the park. APF says it will not interfere with the current agriculture on the west bank, but will not allow any new riverbank areas to be cleared.

To ban the clearing of 'new' areas for riverbank cultivation is to misunderstand the nature of flood retreat agriculture. After an extensive flood, for example, 'new' areas will be cleared that have not been used for several years. But as flood retreat cultivation has been practiced along the Omo for at least 5000 years, it is hard to call any of the area 'new'. If they are talking about shifting, rain-fed cultivation on the other hand, further back from the riverbank, a 'no tree-felling' policy, would make shifting cultivation impossible as the basis of it is that you move on to new areas after a few years.

See map. This map has a few inaccuracies, Mursi territory extends much farther into the Park.)

APF has said that grazing by the Mursi will not be a problem. There will, however, be no hunting within what the park is calling its boundaries. The Mursi rely on hunting as a food reserve, especially in times of hunger. The Mursi women also primarily wear clothing made from animal skins, as these last up to seven years. APF said it was not interested in providing some form of food assistance to compensate for this Mursi loss of food.

The biggest concern is that all of this is just talk. On paper, the government and APF have all the legal rights to the land and the communities have none. The communities need legally established rights to their land.

APF is also claiming the Mursi 'gave' them all of Mursi land west of the Omo River, at a meeting held at Makki September, 2006. The Mursi say that at that meeting they 'gave' them only Gaegol, an area within a five km radius around the Omo Park headquarters. APF says it has this meeting on audio tape and it is legally binding under Ethiopian law, because the elders verbally agreed to it. The Mursi are furious that APF should manipulate the meeting recording this way and met 
with APF in April to tell them this. APF is obtaining its own translation of the tapes, not going through the Mursi who speak English. Also the papers that the Mursi were coerced into signing, to establish the Omo National Park gazettement have not appeared for scrutiny, despite several requests. The gazettement of the park is going forward on these falsely obtained documents.

I have limited information on the status of the other Ethnic groups. In general, their plight seems to be worse, as they do not have advocates (except the Nyangatom).

The Nyangatom have recently made an agreement with APF to limit their grazing in the Omo Park.

One interesting note is, APF said in its November 2006 monthly report that it found more than 150 Suri and Dizi "illegally" mining gold within the park. This is indigenous people mining gold on their land. The Suri have been there for about 350 years.

GTZ has recently made a grant to APF of $200,000 Euro for assessing the conflicts between the communities and the park and how communities are using resources in the park.

Will Hurd
Native Solutions to Conservation Refugees


New Nomad Action Initiative

Around the world indigenous nomadic peoples are deprived of their livelihoods and way of life; driven from their land by conflicts, logging, settlers and mining; flooded by dams or forcibly relocated to make way for cattle ranches, bio fuels or game parks.

Nomad Action is a new organisation working towards a world where indigenous nomadic peoples' diverse ways of life are understood and accepted, oppression of them is not tolerated and they are free to live their own ways of life in peace, freedom and security.

We're just in the process of setting up. We've registered for charitable status and await approval. A website is being constructed and the core pages should be live later in July (the site is going to be fairly visual so images would be very welcome - a holding page is at www.nomadaction.org). We anticipate the site becoming a resource in addition to what you'd expect from a charity site.

At this stage we're simply letting people know we're here and inviting anybody interested to submit information about specific issues and any urgent needs (we're looking for three or four initial areas of focus where we can make an impact). One of the central roles of Nomad Action will be to link and connect all the different people interested in mobile peoples, particularly mobile people themselves, using the most suitable channels.

In due course, we'll send out a more detailed briefing about where we've got to and the role the organisation can play. In the meantime, do feel free to contact us via [email protected]


Mobile Indigenous Peoples at the UN Permanent Forum
2nd May 2008

The Standing Committee of the Dana Declaration on Mobile Peoples and Conservation and the Secretariat of the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples-WAMIP are pleased to announce that they are organising the representation of mobile peoples at the Seventh United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues-UNPFII-in New York between April 21 and May 2nd. Fourteen representatives from WAMIP and other mobile peoples from Africa, the Middle East, India, Central Asia, and the Americas will be attending a special UNPFII side event on April 28th to discuss the impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the sustainable livelihoods of mobile indigenous communities around the world. This event is a significant step in furthering the profile of both WAMIP and the Dana Declaration internationally and regionally in supporting the special vulnerabilities and needs of mobile peoples both in the context of the international indigenous peoples movement as well as in national and regional fora.


Indigenous People Want Power to Veto World Bank Plans
May 2005

Indigenous groups are demanding that the World Bank seek their consent - not just consult them - before carrying out development programmes on their ancestral lands. Representatives of native communities came away from U.N.-sponsored talks criticising the global lender for, in their view, making cosmetic changes in its development policies, which they said continue to undermine native interests. They referred to the bank's new policy on indigenous peoples' development introduced earlier this month. Canadian aboriginal activist Arthur Manual summarised the concern bluntly. ''Consultation sounds good, but does nothing,'' he said. ''It's a mechanism to allow for the ultimate theft of our indigenous propriety interests free of charge. Prior informed consent is recognition of our land, culture, and way of life." By seeking to negotiate with groups within a given indigenous community under the rubric of consultation, rather than simply submitting plans for each community to discuss and decide upon internally, the bank would be ''dividing our communities," added Nilo Cayuqueo of Abya Yala Nexus, an indigenous group based in California. Here is the full report by Haider Rizvi.


Example of good practice in conservation with Bedouin in Syria
March 2003

Bedouin in Syria are playing a prominent role in conservation work helping save the rare northern bald ibis, previously presumed extinct in the wild. Details published by Gianluca Serra et al. in the scientific journal Oryx and in the conservation magazine World Birdwatch, magazine of BirdLife International.