From September 19-24 in New York, the international Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), joint with Land is Life, Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN), International League of Peoples Struggles (ILPS), and BAYAN-USA organized various activities during the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) and UN Climate Summit.
Dubbed “Maximizing and Creating Spaces: An Interactive Learning for Indigenous Peoples during the UN WCIP and Climate Summit,” the activities are a series of learning and exchanges, and protest actionsheld outside of the UN aimed at:
• Consolidating and planning for ways forward in advancing indigenous peoples’ grassroots movement for self-determination and disseminating alternatives of equity and development justice
• Exposing the real state of indigenous peoples and expose the continuing non-recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, the continuing and expanding expropriation of indigenous lands, territories and resources for capitalist profit, and the unending violations of indigenous peoples’ human rights.
On September 19, 2014, more than 60 indigenous peoples and advocates participated in the First Part of the activities, a 2-series forum on indigenous peoples’ solidarity and engagement with the UN WCIP and on the global multiple crisis and people’s resistance. Through the interactive discussion and sharing of experiences and lessons of indigenous peoples’ organizations in engaging the United Nations, followed by a learning session on the global and climate crisis and people’s resistance, indigenous leaders from Africa, Latin America, Asia, Pacific, Arctic, and North America along with IP advocates were in agreement on the importance of creating our own spaces or holding our own activities outside of the UN processes.
On September 20, the Second Part of the activities which focused on building the grassroots indigenous peoples’ movement for self determination gathered members of the IPMSDL and other IP organizationsfor strategic planning on strengthening grassroots movements for self determination and advancing IP right to self determination at the international level. The activity also delved on indigenous peoples’ position, analysis and strategies in promoting IP self-determined and sustainable development especially in relation to development aid and development effectiveness.
On September 21, CPA, IPMSDL and numerous IP organizations joined the 400,000-strong People’s Climate March, the biggest climate march in world history. We joined other IP organizations in calling for States, United Nations and the international public to listen to Indigenous Peoples and for climate justice now. In recent years, there is no denying that the Philippines has suffered so much from the impact of climate change with the aftermatch of typhoon Haiyan alone. CPA reiterated its demand for the Philippine government and corporations to stop development aggression and plunder in the Cordillera and other indigenous territories, and instead uphold our indigenous socio-political systems and traditional knowledge that are viable alternatives to the current market-based and profit-oriented climate change solutions.
For the Third Part of the series of activities with focus on IP Engagement with UN, Governments, States and Civil Society, we joined hundreds of indigenous peoples that participated in the High Level Plenary Meeting of the UN known as the WCIP on September 22-23. In the formal sessions of the WCIP, CPA Chairperson Windel Bolinget expressed our disappointment and condemnation that nothing in the Outcome Document mentions about commitment from States to stop State violence, militarization, and political repression against indigenous peoples. Specifically, Bolinget called on the Philippine government and the intervention of the UN to stop the military operations in Abra province which claimed the lives of two civilians, Engr. Fidela Salvador and Noel Viste; pull-out State military troops in indigenous communities; scrap the State policy of OplanBayanihan; and for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front to address the root causes of the armed conflict towards just and lasting peace.
Bolinget, in another statement during the WCIP session, expressed CPA’s utmost concern on the WCIP Outcome Document which made no explicit mention of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination which is a central issue among indigenous peoples worldwide. Our rights to our lands, territories and resources are way far from being implemented due to the intensified State and corporate plunder of our lands, territories and resources under the current neoliberal development paradigm which puts State interests and corporate profit over people’s genuine development and well-being. Development projects, coupled with militarization and human rights violations, often violate our right to Free Prior and Informed Consent. Worse, these violations are institutionalized through State laws and policies such as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, and government agencies such as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
Other members of the IPMSDL have likewise raised concerns on their own struggles and issues regarding implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights at the local and national level during the WCIP.
On September 24, CPA and IPMSDL participated in a civil society report-back on the results of the WCIP and the UN Climate Summit where grassroots organizations reflected on the outcome of the UN meetings and what needs to be done. Following this, we participated in the People’s General Assembly on the Post-2015 Development Agenda which gathered development perspectives from grassroots people’s organizations. Indigenous peoples tackled the genuine development for indigenous peoples through Self Determined and Sustainable Development which is based on the principles of people’s participation, self-reliance, social justice, gender equality, integration with ecosystems, and human rights based approach to development.
IPMSDL and CPA, in solidarity with indigenous peoples from various parts of the world who are similarly struggling for the genuine respect of the right to self determination, seizes all opportunities to raise our issues and demands for the genuine respect of our human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights at the local, national and international level of engagements. #