On July 22nd in central Rajasthan, India, 1800 Raika herders delivered an appeal to the Forest Department to restore their traditional grazing rights in the surrounding forests. The Raika have been grazing their local breeds of sheep and camel in the forests for hundreds of years and have contributed to the conservation and sustainable use of the forest biodiversity. However, the Forest Department has imposed daily fines on the Raika’s sheep and has restricted their access to the forest in contravention of the their rights under the national Forest Rights Act and under international law (particularly Articles 8(j) and 10(c) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity). Last year, with the support of Natural Justice and local NGO Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan, the Raika developed a bio-cultural community protocol and have since shared their concerns and priorities at UN working group meetings and with other pastoralist communities in India and around the world. They will also present at the upcoming CBD Conference of Parties in Nagoya and will host a preparatory meeting in India from August 13-15, which Kabir Bavikatte (Natural Justice) plans to attend. More information about the Raika can be found in a briefing about the July 22nd appeal, a July 26th article in The Hindu Online, and on Natural Justice’s website.
Raika call for recognition of pastoralists’ rights in India