SHILLONG: The Meghalaya Peoples’ Human Rights Council (MPHRC) has lauded the steps taken by the Union Government to withdraw the officers’ draft of the Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1927 Amendment, which was initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
“We hail this decision and it’s a victory to the indigenous peoples movement in the country and for this victory we will continue to keep up our collective strength, spirit and energy to ensure that the human rights of the indigenous peoples are respected” said Dino DG Dympep, Chairman MPHRC.
It may be mentioned here that the Inspector General of Forests (Forest Policy) Noyal Thomas had sent a letter to all States on March 7 this year, seeking their comments on the first draft of the comprehensive amendments to the IFA. Each State had to conduct consultations with all its stakeholders, including non-profits and civil society organisations, and send the compiled feedback to MoEF&CC by June 7. The Meghalaya Government had begin its consultation on July 15.
“While making our submission to the Union Government on August 16, 2019, we have clearly stated that the regressive draft amendment will not only prove a catastrophe for the tribals and other traditional forest dwellers, but will also affect the development of the nation. Its adverse impact on climate is notable and that is why, the Meghalaya Government should also raise its strong opposition” added MPHRC.
“The IFA draft amendments are like a whimsical ride of a colonial forester that sought to play down with many extremely repressive measures which is incongruous and if adopted, would result in further violation to the human rights of tribal communities and their future generations” concluded the MPHRC.