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Appeal to join Campaign to Defend Nature and People amidst large-scale displacements

By Dipak Dholakia* 

India has a large number of people, more than 60 crore, who are directly working with and dependent on nature -- land, water, forest and sea. There are 14.6 crore farmers, 14.4 crore agricultural labourers, 27.5 crore forest-dependent people, 2.8 crore fishers and 1.3 crore pastoralists. There are almost 6 crore circular migrants who constantly move out of their villages for work and return.
The livelihoods of nature-dependent communities are under threat by policies that displace them, deprive them of access to their natural resources, or render their productive activities unremunerative. The same set of policies promote large-scale commercial and corporate interests that destroy nature in their relentless quest for capital accumulation, thereby threatening the survival of not just nature-dependent communities, but everyone. The policies and programmes to tackle the resultant environmental and climate crises also threaten the livelihoods of those who work with nature.
At the initiative of the Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN), activists working with nature-dependent communities and unorganised sector workers met at Sevagram on 29th and 30th August 2022 and deliberated on the need for a countrywide “Campaign to Defend Nature and People”. The participants stressed the need for an “Ecosystem-based Human Rights Approach” and spelt out the guidelines underpinning it. They issued the attached declaration drawing on relevant provisions of the Constitution of India and various UN declarations that India is party to.
This Campaign cannot remain confined to a handful of small organisations. It cannot succeed without the support of many co-travellers. We invite you to join the Campaign and request you to forward this appeal and the attachment to like-minded people and organisations.
We look forward to your response and suggestions.
---
*Convener, Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN)

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