Indigenous People Voice Out COP Injustice
Indigenous people are concerned that the COP26 will not deliver what they need, and they held a ceremony in commemoration of those murdered while defending the planet.
Amid COP26 promises and crows of "ending deforestation" and reaching net-zero carbon emissions around two decades after halving those emissions, the indigenous people who had their lands stolen and turned into CO2 mass manufacturers gathered near where the Summit was being held to commemorate the many activists killed while attempting to protect the planet from corporate greed and governmental negligence.
Environmental and land rights advocates have suffered the loss of at least 1,005 (that's only the number reported by authorities) as a result of murder since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The figure was drawn up by the Global Witness, an international NGO, which said one in three of those murdered were indigenous people.
Activists held a memorial for those who were murdered over the past six years. They projected the names of the victims over corporate greed on a large outdoor screen as activists from several countries of the "global south" beseeched political leaders to listen to them and their struggles.
One Mexican indigenous land defender, Ita Mendoza, criticized the COP as being a "big business" and "a continuation of colonialism," accusing the leaders and figures attending the Summit of being there only to make money from indigenous land and resources.
"What benefits does the COP bring when more than a thousand people fighting to keep the planet alive have been killed [since Paris]?" Mendoza said while attending her first COP.
Mendoza attended the COP following a funding campaign carried out to voice out the struggles of the indigenous people of Mexico and their communities' vision for protecting the planet.
The crowdfunding was conducted by the Futuros Indigenas collective from Mexico. They spent months gathering the necessary funds, and then they failed to obtain accreditation for the two weeks of the Summit - that's aside from other factors prohibiting them from fulfilling their agenda in time. The obstacles include this being their first COP, the bureaucracy of the event, and the structural barriers to their participation.
Only about a third of the NGOs who usually attend the Summit could attend its 26th edition. Their lack of participation is due to visa and accreditation problems, which prevented them from entering Scotland. Other factors were the lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines and changing travel rules, which only complicated the issue for the activists, thus lowering their voices this year compared to its predecessors.
Over the past 26 years, COP's international climate policies have completely neglected and even violated the indigenous peoples' rights to their land and cultures.
The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement saw a legal recognition of the pivotal role of the traditional knowledge and innovations of local communities and indigenous peoples in terms of the climate crisis. However, not much has changed inside the UN-led negotiations, which indigenous activists described as "Eurocentric".
Indigenous knowledge holders are being "co-opted and manipulated by the Eurocentric UN system," Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the North American Indigenous Environmental Network, who has attended the last 23 COPs, told The Guardian.
The majority of indigenous leaders see that the "solutions" that are being negotiated by world leaders, such as reaching net-zero carbon emissions, are false solutions that will only lead to more land seizures and environmental and cultural destruction.