Gathering support for Indian forest communities at the CDB


In 2006, the Indian Parliament enacted the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (popularly known as Forest Rights Act). The forest law has attempted to restore and recognize the rights of forest communities over their forests, especially the community forest rights over their common resources; it has been the first time in the history of Indian forests the state formally admits that rights have been denied to forest dwelling people for long. (See WRM Bulletin 115)

However, the Act is not being implemented true to its spirit. Millions of claims are being rejected without citing any reason and the forest communities are being forcibly thrown out from and relocated out of the Protected Areas in the name of wildlife conservation and tiger reserves, in complete violation of the FRA and agreed International Protocols.

While this is being done, market-based tourism is being allowed in an unregulated manner citing conservation as the excuse and a large number of forest communities are thrown out of their lands which are taken over forcibly for development projects such as mining, mega dams, thermal power plants without their consent.

Gathering support from international NGOs, community groups and social movements members of the CBD alliance, the Indian forest communities have sent a letter to the Prime Minister of India demanding full implementation of the FRA and to stop illegal relocation of the forest communities from the protected areas.