13 December 2019
Bhubaneswar: Around 250 tribal women leaders from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha participated in the National Convention on Women and Forest Rights which was organised here on December 12 and 13.
The tribal leaders demanded proper implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 to ensure gender justice among scheduled tribes and other forest dwellers, to protect them from illegal evictions. They presented a 10-point charter on these demands to Governor, Prof Ganeshi Lal.
Tribal women raised different issues of forest rights for which they struggle with family, society and government. They demanded provision of land titles for individual forest rights in the joint names of both the spouses and consent of tribal women in forest plantation. Some of the women also raised issues of deforestation or mass cutting of trees due to setting up of industries.
The convention was inaugurated by Sujeet Kumar, Advisor of Special Development Council, Government of Odisha, Sashiprava Bindhani, Information Commissioner, Government of Odisha and Anna Kujur, Tribal Women Activist.
Madhu Sarin, member of the drafting committee of Forest Rights Act 2006, the Guest Speaker, addressed the gathering and spoke on the National Perspective of Implementation of Forest Rights Act 2006.
Grassroots tribal women leaders, women rights activists, members of state and national networks of women and forest rights organisations had participated in this Convention along with representatives from Government, resource organisations and media.
This Convention was enabled the women leaders to exchange and share their stories of women leadership and struggle in natural resource governance, including protection of natural resources; vulnerabilities associated with single women, women households claiming rights and resistance faced by them.
It also created a platform between the civil society, community members, policy makers and media on the issue of women’s participation in the natural resource management and created an advocacy space for tribal women leaders.