Cancún, Mexico - On Friday, the normally staid and restrained atmosphere at UN meetings received a lively injection of energy and music, as about 30 indigenous delegates staged a peaceful demonstration at the Moon Palace, the main venue of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP16 in Cancún.
Organized by the Indigenous Environmental Network, the group sang and chanted, as they called for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. Two things in particular concern the delegation: 1. language referring to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is deleted from the final negotiating text; and 2. the draft text takes a supportive position on the UN's program on Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
On Saturday, civil society groups protested the developed countries' move to allow the World Bank to have control over the global climate fund.
Led by Jubilee South, protesters from mainly third world countries and their allies demanded that financing mechanisms remain solely under control of the UNFCCC with no involvement of the World Bank.
La Via Campesina, an international movement of peasants, which agitates for food sovereignty, organized six caravans of over a thousand people, which departed from various parts of Mexico and brought farmers and peasants from regions to Cancún where they converged on Friday.
Yesterday, Via Campesina organized a thousand strong march for Life and Climate Justice. They made a commemorative stop at the milemarker where Mr. Lee Kyun Hae, a Korean peasant, stabbed himself to death during a massive protest against the WTO in Cancun, Mexico, which was the last large summit held in Cancún in 2003.
Lee was holding a banner saying "WTO kills farmers." Via Campesina opposed WTO subsidies.
Via Campesina has put out an international call for mass protests for environmental and social justice to take place tomorrow, December 7. Solidarity events are also planned worldwide.