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Letter to Mr. James Anaya UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Dear Special Rapporteur Anaya:
The undersigned organizations express our gratitude for your recent visit to Panama and in particular to the Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca. We greatly appreciate your efforts to visit the Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca, and learn firsthand of the human rights abuses associated with the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam and other development projects in the region. We also appreciate your concluding statement, which clearly articulates the international human rights obligations that apply in the case of the Barro Blanco project. Given the urgent nature of the situation, we request that you make recommendations that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) take necessary actions to protect the rights of indigenous people affected by the Barro Blanco dam and other CDM projects.

We agree with your assessment in your concluding statement that Barro Blanco – a project registered under the CDM – is emblematic of the many development projects that are threatening
the lives and livelihoods of indigenous peoples in Panama. Adverse impacts on indigenous peoples have been documented in other CDM projects around the world, including elsewhere in Panama (Bonyic hydroelectric project), Honduras (Aguan biogas plant), and India (Nallakonda wind farm project and Mundra coal project). Although the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol must fully respect human rights in all climate change-related actions, the CDM has failed to ensure that projects are designed, implemented and monitored in a manner that guarantees the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.

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