Tuesday, August 24, 2010

ARABMUSLIM EMPR: Really devils with no MERCY! I had to work from dawn to dust! I had hardly slept!They beat me, threatened to kill me & hide my body!

Saudi employer nails Lankan housemaid
Suraj A. Bandara

A 56-year-old mother of three with 23 nails inside her body punched as punishments by her masters in Saudi Arabia has been hospitalized after returning to Sri Lanka.

*She went to Saudi a few months ago
*Work in an overcrowded house

* Doctors find 23 nails in her body

* Being treated at Kamburupitiya Hospital

She had gone to Saudi Arabia after being registered at the Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau a few months ago.

She had worked as a housemaid in an overcrowded house in Saudi Arabia with unbearable workload to be done per day. When she abstained or failed to accomplish her daily routine she had been inhumanly punished by her employers inserting nails to her body.

The doctors found around 23 nails in her body and removed them after a surgery. She told that she was severely beaten and nailed by her employers.

According to her, the job agency who sent her to that house promised her a place with safe and less work.

“But I had to work from dawn to dust. I had hardly slept. They habitually beat me, threatened to kill me and hide my body,” she said.

“I arranged my passports and all other documents to return through my own expenses. They were really devils with no mercy at all”. She is under treatment at the Kamburupitiya Base Hospital.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Veddhas or traditional forest-dwelling hunters, suffered from extreme poverty as a result of state interventions since European colonial/PC era.!!

Traditional wisdom combines with modernism to rid poverty in Veddha community
August 11, 2010, 7:23 pm

By Ifham Nizam

The Veddhas or the traditional forest-dwelling hunters, suffered from extreme poverty as a result of state interventions since the European colonial and post-colonial era.

Modern development schemes -including forced resettlement- and the establishment of conservation policies ignored the intrinsic sustainability of Veddha lifestyles.

Their enforced adaptation to mainstream scenarios has adversely affected the once free-spirited Veddha people, their traditional lifestyles and cultural values, and has intensified their marginalisation and enhanced their dependency.

Their primary occupation of hunting and gathering is now prohibited by law. In some cases, where protected forest resources are used by forest-dependent communities, including the Veddha, arrests were made and major conflicts and legal battles ensue between the stakeholder groups.

One key livelihood transition has been the adoption of sedentary agricultural practices. This shift has led to an increased dependency on external inputs, like chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and has restricted access to seasonal water sources. As a result, the traditional livelihood strategies of the Veddha, which helped to preserve forest resources, are being eroded.

The price the Veddha people have paid is high. They are facing undue pressures and are struggling to maintain livelihood security. An erosion of traditional values, in exchange for material aspirations, influenced by external economic, socio-cultural and religious influences, is distinctly evident.

The rights of the Veddha people are incorporated within broader national policies focused on the rights of forest-dependent communities in general. These policies have deprived traditional forest-dwellers such as the Veddha people of their economic mainstay and livelihood through displacement and a denial of the right to access forest resources.

Veddha settlements of Ratugala and Pollebadda were the focal points of concern. Water, hunger and poverty were burning issues reported by the Global Environment Facility-Small Grants Programme in July 2004.

Familiarity with Veddha lifeways resulting from previous social anthropological research-based studies resulted with a preliminary field visit by the Centre for Eco- Cultural Centre (CES) to Ratugala and Pollebadda in mid-August 2004, thus, confirming the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) report.

Further vulnerability and disempowerment were additional key factors perceived among the communities.

In designing the programme, priority community needs were identified as immediate livelihood recovery measures with the participation of the recognised local Veddha custodianship and community representatives through preparatory discussions, while representative community associations were established as the mechanism to build upon local capacities and strengthen stakeholder networks.

The communication channel thus, initiated has since been maintained with the Veddha communities, with the aim of strengthening ties and confidence-building that included training in livelihood skills, exposure visits and participation in GEF-SGP programmes facilitated by CES, during the project preparatory phase.

The Inter-Agency Working Group on the Livelihood Recovery of Traditional/Indigenous Forest-Dwelling People was also established in response to the livelihood insecurities being experienced by modern forest-dependent communities.

The Working Group committee, facilitated by the UNDP/GEF-SGP, comprises representatives from the Biodiversity Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the Centre for Eco-Cultural Studies (CES), operating as the joint secretariat, and the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The Working Group’s main objective is to facilitate the recovery of forest livelihoods and to preserve associated traditional knowledge systems.

The process is being carried forward through negotiations between the various stakeholders aimed at proactive change in order to overcome the barriers forest communities are presently facing in interacting with their natural environment.

These stakeholders include local, district, regional and national government agencies, non-governmental organisations and private concerns such as entrepreneurs.

While tackling this as a key theme, national and international agendas such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the much publicised Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for example, are also being addressed.

In the spirit of the International Decade for Indigenous Peoples, developments for the establishment of the National Policy on Traditional Knowledge (NPTK) were set in motion in 2003. The NPTK and its associated strategies were finally declared on August 9, 2007, a day recognised internationally for the Celebration of Indigenous Peoples.

Pre-existing policies, such as the National Biodiversity Action Plan and National Forest Policy, have already highlighted the importance of preserving traditional knowledge practices and their associated communities.

However, the NPTK exists as a government policy solely dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of traditional knowledge, and to the maintenance of the eco-cultural well-being of indigenous communities that have nurtured such wisdom for thousands of years.

A model for the livelihood recovery of forest-dependent Veddha communities has been proposed through the IWGLRIP in Ratugala.