CIC Support for Threatened Indigenous Hunters, Fishers and Gatherers
At the occasion of its 47th General Assembly in Berlin, Germany, the CIC declared to help threatened indigenous hunting tribes. These tribes have been pushed to the edge of extinction. Civilizations which have forgotten their own roots are depriving the Earth’s last remaining hunter-gatherers of their autonomy, their habitat, and their culture. It is vital to secure the existence of these peoples, for their own sake and also that mankind can continue to benefit from their practical wisdom.
At the Crans Montana Forum in 2001, President of the CIC Mr. Dieter Schramm launched an urgent appeal for help for these endangered peoples underlining that among more than 5000 indigenous peoples, only about 50 indigenous communities live and depend directly from nature. He deplored that wildlife conservation and management efforts in general do not take into consideration these populations who represent the last elements of a disappearing way of life. Threatened by deforestation also due to different kinds of pollution, the demographic pressure of other populations, the extension of agricultural and urban areas, as well as industrial exploitation of the soil and other natural resources, these populations are disappearing today. The pygmies in Africa as an example have seen their territories being reduced in a drastic way since the beginning of the last century, and today this process has reached dramatic proportions as a threat to their survival.
The CIC has created an International Foundation whose objectives are the following:
- Identifying and analyzing the status of all indigenous peoples concerned (Pygmies, Inuit, San “bushmen”, etc.)
- Defining the necessary actions for the purpose of the preservation of their rights (territories, etc.) and the self-determination of those who, in particular, still live on traditional hunting and fishing today. They are to have free access to their territories of habitation and migration and should be guaranteed the rights to use the natural resources of these zones. They must be enabled to oppose local and international decisions that violate their interests directly or indirectly; they have to be included directly in the respective negotiations and consultations with respect to their customs and traditions.
- Urgently identifying alternatives for the consumption of timber from the rapidly disappearing tropical forests, the home of many of the indigenous tribes
- Increasing the awareness of governments and international institutions to the plight of these peoples.
The International Community, having already achieved a considerable success in the conservation of nature, has to act promptly on behalf of the indigenous hunters and gatherers, as the risk of the disappearance of this important part of human heritage has never been greater.