(AFP) – Dec 7, 2007
NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indigenous people from around the globe said Friday they were being excluded from key international climate change talks, when it was their homes, livelihoods and culture at risk from global warming.
Surrounded by demonstrators wearing paper gags reading UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), Marcial Arias, one of Panama's Kuna people, made a passionate plea for the world to listen.
"There are no name places for indigenous people, there are no seats for indigenous people," said Arias, referring to a UN conference in Bali, Indonesia on future plans for fighting climate change.
"They want us to beg on our knees to be given the floor, but we have the right to participate," he said.
About 20 indigenous people from countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh, Samoa, Mexico, the Philippines and Indonesia -- some in traditional dress -- joined the protest outside the conference centre.
"We have our culture to protect and our language to protect," said Alfred Ilenre, from the Edo group in Nigeria.
"The convention on climate change should not isolate indigenous people... If we are not allowing them to have their say, it is a crime against humanity," said Ilenre.
In a statement, the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change said that some projects aimed at curbing global warming -- such as renewable energy projects or biofuel crops -- were encroaching on their land.
"We demand that the conference of parties recognise and take action to curb the adverse impacts of climate change on indigenous people," they said.
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