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Raika campaign for rights hits international media

Raika herders (photo: San Francisco Chronicle / Zackary Canepari)

A visit by a delegation of Raika pastoralists to an international conference in Switzerland has attracted worldwide media coverage.

The four Raika delegates attended the Interlaken conference on animal genetic resources in September 2007. Their visit highlighted threats to their livelihood caused by the loss of grazing lands and other rights.

Articles in the San Francisco Chronicle in the USA, and the Tageszeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine and Darmstädter Echo newspapers in Germany focused on the life of the herders and the loss of grazing lands to crop cultivation, industry and forest conservation.

“This is definitely a very serious problem,” K.M.L. Pathak, director of the National Research Center on Camels in Rajasthan is quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. “The grazing area is shrinking day by day.”

“If the government doesn’t open up this forest, then we and our camels are finished,” the same paper quotes herder Bhawerlal Raika.

“His rights to the grazing lands, as well as the routes that take him there, are sealed in tradition rather than in legal documents, making him a bystander as the most important asset of his centuries-old culture vanishes,” says the Chronicle.




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