Thursday, November 29, 2012

Miskitu BCP Launched in Honduras

Moskitia Asla Takanka (MASTA), a Miskitu community-based organisation, has developed and launched a Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP) with technical assistance from Natural Justice and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Regional Office for Mesoamerica. The BCP seeks to assert the right to and guide the process of obtaining free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for projects in La Moskitia.

The Miskitu community, with a population of around 70 000, live in the tropical rainforest ecosystems of La Moskitia in eastern Honduras. They are facing a series of challenges in their traditional territory, ranging from the destruction of primary forests through agricultural expansion, illegal trade of flora, fauna and drugs, as well as the commercial exploitation of their sub-soil resources. 

To face these and other threats to their natural and cultural environment, MASTA has focused their protocol on defining a mechanism for free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), a vital procedural right that has often been ignored by government and non-governmental development projects. The process of developing the BCP was guided by MASTA, together with representatives from 12 territorial councils and their respective community councils. With this protocol, MASTA is seeking to guarantee that future consultation and consent-seeking processes respect the Miskitu’s own institutions and decision-making procedures. 

To publicise the protocol and its implications to key stakeholders and other communities and organisations advancing Indigenous peoples’ rights, the protocol was presented to the public at an event in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in early November 2012. Further events are planned within the communities of La Moskitia for early 2013. 

The Biocultural Community Protocol of the Miskitu can be downloaded here. An article about the protocol published in the Honduran newspaper La Tribuna can be accessed here.

No comments: