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Stop The Killings of Indigenous Peoples! Condemn the Murder of 89-Year-Old Peruvian IP leader Olivia Arevalo Lomas!
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) expresses its grave condemnation against the murder of 89-year-old Olivia Arevalo Lomas, a leader of Shipibo Konibo Indigenous group in the Peruvian Amazon.
Lomas, a staunch Indigenous Peoples (IP) rights defender and a healer using traditional form of singing-medicine, was shot several times without mercy in the chest by a gun man in front of her family and children in the afternoon of April 19, 2018 in her house in Victoria Gracia, Ucayali, Peru.
A death threat with a bullet was sent to another female healer of the Shipibo at the time of the assassination. An alarming spike of death threats, constant harassments, and intimidation have been experienced by IP leaders and communities following their fight against the palm oil company responsible for appropriating and deforesting several hectares of their ancestral territory. On September 2017, six farmers were also murdered by criminal gangs after refusing to give up their lands.
In Peru, and greater part of Latin America and the Amazon forests, growing violence, human rights violations, and displacements due to aggressive land grabbing for plantation and energy projects is escalating. Across the globe, the IP are severely victimized by the rabid plunder and seizure of lands by corporations and States for plantations, dams, highways, or mineral, oil, and gas exploitation.
The extreme vulnerability and grave dangers faced by IP are exacerbated by the failure of the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of injustice and stop the impunity against human rights abuses. More often, the state, and criminal local armed groups collaborating with huge corporations serve as an instrument to further intensify these attacks.
We call on the government of Peru and private corporations to stop the attacks against the Indigenous communities of Peru and respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to lands, resources, and territories! We demand justice for all the victims of human rights violations in Peru and hold the perpetrators accountable for the brutal killings of all human rights defenders! We call on all IP organizations, advocates and other oppressed peoples across the globe to continue our fight to defend our lands, cultures, and our very identity!
STOP THE KILLINGS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES! UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE WORLD! UNITE AND STRUGGLE FOR OUR RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND LIBERATION!
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | email@example.com
Traducido a través de Google Translate
¡Detener las matanzas de los pueblos indígenas! ¡Condena el asesinato de Olivia Arévalo Lomas, IP líder en Perú!
El Movimiento Internacional de Pueblos Indígenas para la Autodeterminación y la Liberación (IPMSDL) expresa su grave condena contra el asesinato de Olivia Arevalo Lomas, de 89 años, líder del grupo indígena Shipibo Konibo en la Amazonía peruana.
Lomas, defensora de los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas (IP) y curandera usando la forma tradicional de canto-medicina, recibió disparos sin misericordia en el pecho por un hombre armado frente a su familia y sus hijos en la tarde del 19 de abril de 2018 en su casa en Victoria Gracia, Ucayali, Perú.
Una amenaza de muerte con una bala fue enviada a otra curandera de Shipibo en el momento del asesinato. Un alarmante aumento de amenazas de muerte, acosos constantes e intimidación han sido experimentados por líderes y comunidades de IP después de su lucha contra la compañía de aceite de palma responsable de apropiarse y deforestar varias hectáreas de su territorio ancestral. En septiembre de 2017, seis bandas de delincuentes también asesinaron a seis agricultores tras negarse a ceder sus tierras.
En el Perú, y en la mayor parte de América Latina y los bosques amazónicos, la violencia creciente, las violaciones de los derechos humanos y los desplazamientos debido al acaparamiento agresivo de tierras para proyectos de plantaciones y energía están en aumento. En todo el mundo, las IP son severamente victimizadas por el saqueo y la incautación rapaz de tierras por parte de corporaciones y estados para plantaciones, represas, carreteras o explotación de minerales, petróleo y gas.
La extrema vulnerabilidad y los graves peligros a los que se enfrenta la propiedad intelectual se ven agravados por el hecho de que las autoridades no enjuician a los autores de la injusticia ni detienen la impunidad contra los abusos contra los derechos humanos. Con mayor frecuencia, el estado y los grupos armados locales criminales que colaboran con grandes corporaciones sirven como un instrumento para intensificar aún más estos ataques.
Hacemos un llamamiento al gobierno de Perú y a las corporaciones privadas para que detengan los ataques contra las comunidades indígenas de Perú y respeten los derechos de los pueblos indígenas sobre las tierras, los recursos y los territorios. ¡Exigimos justicia para todas las víctimas de violaciones de los derechos humanos en Perú y responsabilizamos a los perpetradores por los asesinatos brutales de todos los defensores de los derechos humanos! Llamamos a todas las organizaciones de IP, defensores y otras personas oprimidas de todo el mundo a continuar nuestra lucha para defender nuestras tierras, culturas y nuestra propia identidad.
¡DETENGAN LAS ASESINATAS DE PUEBLOS INDÍGENAS! ¡MANTENER LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS Y EL DERECHO A LA AUTODETERMINACIÓN Y EL DESARROLLO DE LOS PUEBLOS INDÍGENAS DEL MUNDO! ÚNATE Y LUCHA POR NUESTRO DERECHO A LA AUTODETERMINACIÓN Y LA LIBERACIÓN!
La referencia: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org
On the struggle for Native Customary Rights of the G6 Communities
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly supports the struggle of the Orang Asal communities of Pitas, Sabah and stands with them in their defense of land, territories, and ways of life against private interests which threaten their Native Customary Rights (NCR).
In a span of three years, over 2,300 acres of mangrove plantation in Pitas, Northern Sabah was cleared to pave the way for the Pitas Shrimp Park, a joint venture between the Yayasan Sabah’s Inno-Fisheries Sdn Bhd and the Sunlight Seafood (Sabah) Sdn Bhd. The villagers had no prior knowledge of the project until it encroached on their land in 2014.
This led to the formation of the G6 or the Group of the 6 affected communities namely Kampung Telaga, Kampung Gumpa, Kampung Ungkup, Kampung Boluuh Skim, Kampung Datong, and Kampung Sungai Eloi. The G6, headed by its founder, Mastupai Somong, is at the forefront of the struggle to save the remaining 1,000 acres of mangroves and get the area legally recognized as NCR Land.
The members of the G6 communities are mostly of Dusun, Rungus, Sungai, and Tombonuo descent. The destruction of the area would not only mean the destruction of their livelihood and resources, but also of their Indigenous identities and ways of life as the shrimp park has also affected their means to create traditional medicine, gather building materials, and to practice traditional rituals in sacred sites.
“Development projects” like the Pitas Shrimp Park supposedly bring the promise of job opportunities, roads, and access to basic utilities like water and electricity, but these promises often do not materialize and instead, leaves Indigenous communities in even more unfavorable conditions than before. The Pitas Shrimp Park, which claims to be Asia’s largest aquaculture project, failed to provide jobs for the villagers of Kampung Sungai Eloi. The mangrove swamp, which once was home to a wide diversity of endangered species of flora and fauna, is now a mere waste dump of the companies.
IPMSDL condemns these Inno-Fisheries and Sunlight Seafood’s blatant disregard of the Orang Asal’s right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC). We hold these actors accountable for the Orang Asal’s loss of livelihood and all the ecological damages in their territory. We challenge Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman to stand with the Orang Asal and uphold their Native Customary Rights.
We also call on friends, allies, and fellow Indigenous Peoples to stand in solidarity with the G6 in their struggle for FPIC and self-determined development. Let us continue to support and advance the G6’s collective and militant actions to defend their lands and right to self-determination!
Long live the G6 Communities! Protect our ancestral lands! Uphold the Orang Asal’s Right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent! Uphold the Orang Asal’s Native Customary Rights!
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | email@example.com
On the Appointment of Retired Col. Capuyan as Undersecretary of IP Concerns in The Philippines
The Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) deplores the further militarization of bureaucracy in the Philippines with President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of Retired Colonel Allen Capuyan as the new Presidential Adviser for Indigenous Peoples’ concern last April 23.
Capuyan, now head of the task force formed supposedly to “emphasize the need for greater convergence among national government line agencies on IP concerns,” was dragged in cases of corruption and smuggling of illegal drugs in the Bureau of Customs, while he was an official of the Manila International Airport Authority.
He has also been accused as the man behind the wiretapping of the phone call conversation between former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and then Commission on Elections official about allegedly rigging the results of the 2004 national elections. He was the Chief for Operations of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He also served as the Intelligence Service Unit Chief of Davao City, where President Duterte previously served as the mayor, and was one of the minds behind the intensified military operations in Mt. Diwalwal in Mindanao. By collaborating with local mining corporations and sowing fear in the community through made-up stories about rebel-forces in the area, he was able to justify heavy militarization of the mountain area, thereby evicting Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral land in favor of the mining companies.
The IPMSDL registers its strong disapproval on the militarizing of agencies that assume to safeguard the rights and lives of IP. We remain firm in its call – to genuinely address the needs of the IP, the government should stop selling the ancestral lands of Lumad, Moro, and IP in Mindanao to big foreign investors who run destructive mining and plantation businesses.
The recent massive forced evacuations of at least 30,000 Lumad families, the killings of over 30 Lumad under the Duterte regime, the harassment, food blockade, and intimidation on the students and teachers in Lumad schools in the pretext of the Martial Law extension in the whole of island of Mindanao, only shows the insincerity of the state in genuinely resolving the problems of immense poverty, dislocations, environmental plunder, injustice, and human rights violations that lead to the Lumad’s genocide.
In addition, several IP leaders and advocates have been continuously harassed and silenced and tagged as terrorists by the state using the problematic Human Security Act of 2007. Among those tagged werenational minority leaders from Mindanao like Datu Mandayhon, Datu Mampadayag, and Mamerto Guyanon who are known to actively oppose mining corporation and agribusiness plantations that encroached in their ancestral lands.
We denounce this move by the Duterte administration of further militarizing and sowing terror among IP in the Philippines! We call on all Indigenous Peoples and human rights organizations and advocates to unite against all forms of attacks and brutal repression of the state and corporations to IP leaders and communities! We appeal to the international community to stand with us in the struggle for freedom, ancestral lands, and the right to self-determination and ways of life!
NO TO MILITARIZATION OF CIVILIAN BUREAUCRACY! WITHDRAW THE MILITARY FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE! DEFEND ANCESTRAL LANDS!
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org
Achieve Greater Victories for The Indigenous Peoples of Cordillera and the World: Unite to Resist Tyranny! Assert our Right to Self-Determination!
A Message of Solidarity of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) to the 34th Cordillera Day
In this occasion of Cordillera Day 2018, The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) salutes the relentless struggle of Indigenous Peoples (IP) of the Cordillera! We extend our warmest greetings of solidarity to your celebration this April 22 – 25, 2018 in Asin, Baguio City.
The IPMSDL takes pride in recognizing the vital and active part of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in paving the way of a broad and united alliance of IP organizations and rights advocates in the Philippines, in Asia, and in the international platform. In November 2010, also here in Baguio City, during the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis, the IPMSDL was established with the CPA as one of its founding organizations.
With highest regards, the IP movements across the globe take inspiration from the victories as well as learnings from the continuing and persistent struggle of the Cordillera people for land, rights, and territories. We bestow honor to Ama Macliing Dulag and the countless IP martyrs killed by the fascist State forces and local cohorts of the imperialist plunderers. We aspire to make our IP heroes proud of how far we have struggled in carrying on the fight for the defense of territories and ways of life and for self-determination.
In the midst of spiraling global economic crises, the imperialist states have intensified worldwide geopolitical conflicts and neoliberal assaults that put the majority of the people in widespread impoverishment, trample human rights, and control over our lands and resources. In the Cordillera, the people are haunted by the multi-million dollar Chico River Pump Irrigation Project by the Philippine and Chinese governments – an outright sell-out of natural resources and ancestral lands, and further corporatization of agricultural services to foreign investors. Moreover, the Duterte regime has continued to adhere to neoliberal framework of development implementing anti-people and anti-poor policies and programs such as the tax reform law, jeepney phase out, mining, energy projects, drug war, and Oplan Kapayaan among others that have brought serious poverty incidence, unemployment, heightened militarization, forced evacuation of Indigenous communities, and unprecedented human rights violations.
Instead of heeding the calls and legitimate demands of the Cordillera people for democratic rights, the government attacks known Indigenous rights activists and labelled them as terrorists. Cordillera rights activists who were tagged as enemies of the State include IPMSDL Global Coordinator Beverly Longid, CPA Chairperson Windel Bolinget, SANDUGO Co-Chairperson Joanna Cariño, former AIPP Secretary General Joan Carling, former member of UN EMRIP Jose Molintas, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, and a leader of Tontongan ti Umili Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding. The Duterte regime is desperate to cripple the Cordillera mass movement by demonizing IP leaders, advocates, and organizations. This further exposed the tyrannical fascist rule of Duterte in silencing all dissents and amassing all State powers into a one iron fist against the toiling Filipino masses. Duterte has proven that he is an ultimate cuddler of landlords, oligarchs, and foreign businesses who exploit the lands and resources of our Indigenous communities.
History has shown, time and again, that exploitation and oppression breed resistance. Injustice only challenges the exploited to persevere and fight for their rights. The linking of the Indigenous Peoples’ struggle to the struggle of all oppressed peoples – strengthens, consolidates and unites in achieving triumphs and raising our struggle for self-determination and liberation to new and greater heights.
Let us learn from the rich history and victories of the IP struggle in defense of rights and dignity and assertion of self-determined sustainable development. Let us pay tribute to the Indigenous men and women heroes who sacrificed their lives in defense of our rights, lands, and territories!
Let us strengthen our unity and solidarity as we broaden our linkages and struggle to defeat all attempts of the tyrant and despotic Duterte regime in trampling down our rights! In the tradition of collective and militant struggle of Cordillera people for self-determination, greater victories are ours!
LONG LIVE THE 34TH CORDILLERA DAY! DEFEND OUR TERRITORIES AND WAYS OF LIFE! UNITE TO RESIST TYRANNY! NO TO US-DUTERTE FASCIST RULE! LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE WORLD TO SELF-DETERMINATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND LIBERATION! LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, email@example.com
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self- Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) indignantly condemns the unjust deportation of Jerome Succor Aba, a Moro leader and peace advocate in the Philippines, after being arbitrarily detained by the US immigration authorities at the San Francisco International Airport.
Aba, the vice-chairperson of Sandugo – Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, is scheduled for immediate deportation on April 18, US time. But 24 hours of detentioned passed, authorities failed to give any basis or explanation on the reasons of denial of entry. He was also unlawfully denied his right to any legal counsel, and denied any access to communication to talk with his hosts and friends in San Francisco, USA.
Aba was scheduled to attend the Sixteenth National Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) for Global Peace with Justice in Washington D.C. on April 20 to 23. He was set to join various activities in the USA to speak about the human rights and martial law situation in Mindanao, Southern part of the Philippines, under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The event is organized by US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Sisters of Mercy, and the General Board of Global Ministries-United Methodist Church as part of the annual national gathering of churches on peace and social justice. The Stop The Killings Speaking Tour sponsored by International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines will also have him as a resource speaker during his stay in the US.
Aba was set to expose the role of the US military in the atrocities against the national minorities in Mindanao, especially at the height of the siege in Marawi, showing the outright intervention of US military facilities, weapons, and troops. Thousands of Meranaw, Moro peoples of Marawi, were forcibly evacuated and up to the present are not allowed to go back home.
Under current state of martial law and the fascist attacks of the Duterte administration, harassments, intimidations, massacres, killings, forced mass evacuations and other human rights abuses to Indigenous Peoples and other sectors has been rampant.
Last February 2018, the Philippine government tagged several progressive leaders and Indigenous activists as terrorists, including Beverly Longid, the global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and CPDE (CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness) Co-chair. These steps are blatant recourse of the state in criminalizing the dissent and legitimate struggles of the people by treating such as terrorist acts. These are cunning attacks against the peoples’ clamor for justice against the plunder of Indigenous Peoples’ ancestral lands and resources.
We condemn the deportation of Jerome Succor Aba by the US government! We denounce this move of the US government to prevent Jerome from exposing the culpability of the US military forces and the Philippine government in all atrocities against the Filipino people! We call on our international friends and allies to condemn the harassment against Jerome Succor Aba! We call on all organizations, individual and advocates to stand in solidarity with us and to support the campaign to put an end to criminalization of IP and human rights activists!
STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION & HARASSMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES & HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS! LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!
Reference: Beverly Longid | IPMSDL Global Coordinator
IPMSDL Solidarity Message to Mangyan Day 2018: Unite and Triumph for the rights of the Mangyan and all Indigenous Peoples of the World!
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) extends its warmest greetings of unity to the Mangyan communities in the Philippines and their partner organizations in their celebration of the 11th Mangyan Day this April 13 to 16 in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.
As we celebrate the victories in defending your lands and territories, we also pay tribute to all Mangyan heroes and martyrs who fell preys of the bloodied claws of the fascist State forces. In this timely occasion, we forge unity in your continuing struggle for the right to self-determination and development.
Historically, the hand of capitalists and their local cohorts operates to intensify natural resource plunder in the guise of so-called development projects such as the National Greening Program (NGP), renewable energy projects, and mining operations. These projects in their communities have caused displacement, conflict and division, loss of livelihood, and environmental degradation. Clearly, it exacerbates the already grave condition of Mangyan communities – the Hanunoo, Alangan, Gubatnon, Iraya, Buhid, Bangon, and Tadyawan – and pushes them further to the margin. Despite this, the Mangyan communities have remained steadfast in consolidating their ranks to collectively fight for their rights to lands and resources.
And now, in the increasing attacks of the Philippine Government to human rights activists and defenders, human rights situation is expected to worsen. Vehement militarization, threats and arrests of Indigenous Peoples (IP) leaders and their organizations, and their hunger to silence our calls is more evident than ever in many Indigenous communities across the country.
The Indigenous Peoples all over the world that confront these similar issues stand by your struggles. The international community is hand in hand in strengthening and expanding our unity to defeat all forms of oppression and exploitation!
We call on all Indigenous communities, organizations, and advocates to drumbeat and amplify our call to forward the fight in defending our ancestral lands, resources, and territories. Together, let us strive to expand and strengthen international solidarity against imperialism!
The victory is for the Mangyan communities and all peoples who face the challenge with unwavering unity! The victory is ours!
UNITE AND TRIUMPH FOR THE RIGHTS OF MANGYAN COMMUNITIES TO LANDS AND TERRITORIES! LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND DEVELOPMENT!
Pahayag ng Pakikipagkaisa ng IPMSDL sa Mangyan Day 2018: Magkaisa at Magtagumpay para sa Karapatan ng mga Mangyan at ng Lahat ng Katutubo sa Buong Mundo!
Maalab na pagbati ng pakikipagkaisa ang ipinaaabot ng Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) sa mga Katutubong Mangyan sa Pilipinas at mga kasamang organisasyon sa pagdiriwang ng ika-11 taon ng Mangyan Day sa ika-13 hanggang ika-16 ng Abril sa Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.
Sa ating pagdiriwang ng mga tagumpay sa pagdepensa sa inyong lupang ninuno at teritoryo, nagbibigay pugay din tayo sa lahat ng bayani at martir ng Mangyan na biniktima ng kalawit ng pasistang pwersa ng estado. Sa panahong ito, matatag ninyo kaming kaisa sa inyong nagpapatuloy na laban para sa karapatan sa pagkakakilanlan at kaunlaran.
Sa kasaysayan, tumitindi ang sabwatan ng galamay ng kapitalista at mga lokal na tuta nito sa pandarambong ng mga likas na yaman sa mukha ng National Greening Program (NGP), renewable energy projects, at mga minahan. Ang mga proyektong ito sa kanilang mga komunidad ay nagdulot ng pagpapalayas, sigalot at pagkakawatak-watak, kawalan ng kabuhayan at pakasira ng kalikasan. Malinaw na pinalalala pa nito ang paghihirap ng mga komunidad ng Mangyan – ang mga Hanunoo, Alangan, Gubatnon, Iraya, Buhid, Bangon, at Tadyawan – at itinutulak sila sa bingit ng laylayan. Sa kabila nito, nananatiling matatag ang mga Mangyan sa konsolidasyon ng kanilang hanay upang kolektibong ipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan sa lupa at likas-yaman.
At ngayon, sa lumalalang pag-atake ng kasalukuyang administrasyon sa mga aktibista at tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao, mas masahol ang mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Kabi-kabilang militarisasyon, pananakot at panghuhuli sa mga lider-katutubo at kanilang organisasyon, higit na litaw ang kanilang pagkaganid na patahimikin ang ipinaglalaban ng mga katutubo sa buong bansa.
Kaisa ninyo sa inyong laban ang lahat ng katutubo sa buong mundo na humaharap parehong mga usapin. Ang pandaigdigang komunidad ay hawak-kamay sa pagbuo at pagpapalawak ng pagkakaisa upang gapiin ang lahat ng uri ng pang-aalipin at pagsasamantala!
Malakas ang aming panawagan — itambol ng lahat ng komunidad ng mga katutubo, mga organisasyon at kanilang tagapagtaguyod ang pagsusulong ng laban sa pagdepensa sa mga lupang ninuno, likas-yaman at teritoryo. Sama-sama nating palawakin at patibayin ang pandaigdigang pagkakaisa laban sa imperyalismo!
Ang tagumpay ay nakalaan sa mga katutubong Mangyan at sa lahat ng humaharap sa hamon nang may matibay pagkakaisa! Ang tagumpay ay nakalaan sa sambayanan!
MAGKAISA AT MAGTAGUMPAY PARA SA KARAPATAN SA LUPA AT TERITORYO NG KATUTUBONG MANGYAN! MABUHAY ANG PAKIKIBAKA NG KATUTUBO PARA SA PAGKAKAKILANLAN AT KAUNLARAN!
Reference: Beverly Longid | IPMSDL Global Coordinator
Beverly Longid’s Personal Statement on the Terrorist Tagging
The morning was filled with much excitement as we plan to visit a Maasai community, not far away from Nairobi City in Kenya. For long, I heard Maasai leaders intervening in several indigenous peoples’ forums at the United Nations, but have not visited Maasai territories before. Members of the Working Group on Conflict and Fragility of CSO partnership for Development Effectiveness were able to visit the Maasai community members of Olkaria area on 8th March 2018 and to orient on pattern of conflict persisting among the Maasai people of Kenya and persisting challenges to their survival as peoples. The Maasai are one of the major indigenous peoples of Kenya, also inhabiting the Serengeti region of Tanzania. The traditional territories of the Maasai people are abundant with diversified wildlife and their way of life and cultures centered on their protracted affinity with nature and wildlife.
After crossing the highlands overlooking the Rift Valley, we entered into a territory close to the Naivasha Lake, where multiple agribusiness farms lined up, several with rose and other exotic flowers farms. As we reached the Hell’s Gate National Park managed by the Kenyan Wildlife Services (KWS), an ominous sign warns us, “Those entering the park enter at their own risk and whatever happen, the WFS will not be responsible”. Why should a place on earth be referred to a hell? The Park located close to the Great Rift Valley spreading over 64 Sq. Km provokes a peculiar curiosity on the nomenclature.
As one drive through the park shortly, one will be greeted by the Giraffes, with the young ones curiously gazing on by-passers, a playful Impala fleeing to safety, zebras unwary of passing vehicles. Entering further in the park, close to an imposing landscape in the form of a massive Canyon, we reached the Maasai Olkaria Cultural Centre, a spot close to the National park with few make shift stall with Maasai artifacts and craft on display for sale. A team of Maasai, comprising several women, youths and elders greeted us. The traditional Maasai dark Red, green and blue striped attires worn by Maasai elderly men and woman presents a charming contrast to the lucid colors of the forest, the sky and the imposing landscape and gorges. The Maasai village settlement, which I wish to witness, is missing.
As we interacted with the community leaders, the shrill roaring sound originating from various sites of the Geothermal Energy Projects, almost a kilometer from the Maasai Cultural Center, but within the Hell’s Gate National Park, is too loud and deafening. The loud sound is almost akin to the sound of a Jet Airplane booming in the sky continuously and disturbs our interaction with the Maasai elders.
Mr. Daniel Shaa, one of the elderly Maasai shared that long before, the Maasai people seek their livelihood and survival over a huge area of land and the Maasai had community ownership of land without any land titles. The British forcibly took land from the Maasai and pushed them to small areas of land to survive. Land taken from the Maasai are never returned even after Kenya’s independence from British. Land surrendered by Britishers was then grabbed by powerful elites who imposed land titles and continued with grabbing Maasai peoples land. Again, the remaining lands of the Maasai in Olkaria region near the Great Rift Valley are again converted into national parks and as sites for Geothermal Power Plants. Massive agribusiness, for instance, rose and other flower gardens for exports are also established by rich Kenyans and Dutch agribusiness farms units, leading to further alienation of land. The Kenya Wildlife Services while seeking land from the Maasai for the Park, falsely promised them to share revenue from the National Park, but now after all their land are taken away by the park, KWS only imposed restrictions on their free access to the Park and prosecuted them for being in the park, a land that rightfully belonged to them for generations. The ongoing processes of fencing of the park area by the KWS that cuts through the Maasai Culture Centre, a small remnant of Fourteen (14) Acres is against their will and bereft of seeking their consent. This will further restricts their access to their land and disturb the small economic activity of Maasai women by trading their traditional crafts and artifact to park visitors. With their land alienated and their only survival sources extinguished, the Maasai people of Olkaria will further be impoverished and pushed to brink of survival.
Indeed, the geothermal energy projects, Olkaria I, Olkaria II, Olkaria III, commissioned in 2000, Olkaria IV, commissioned in 2014 are introduced inside the Maasai territory, now located within the Hell’s Gate National Park. In 2010, the European Investment Bank, together with the World Bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW, Germany’s development bank), the French Development Agency and Japan International Cooperation Agency invested in the Olkaria V in further extension of the geothermal energy projects, Olkaria I and IV, involving the construction of additional 280 MW geothermal generation capacity. The African Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, USAID, Power Africa, US Overseas Private Investment Corporation also financed portion of the project. By 2016, Kenya was producing 544 MW of geothermal energy and the Government is embarking on initiatives to increase geothermal energy generation up to 1,110 MW by 2020. With additional plans to set up and commission more geothermal projects in the area, the area will simply be inhabitable, not just due to the increased and deafening sounds but also due the multifaceted environmental impacts.
Ms. Esther Silom, a Maasai elderly woman from Olkaria also shared the suffering of Maasai people aggravated since the creation of Hell’s Gate National park and efforts to produce geothermal energy from Olkaria area in 1980s. She shared the entire land now covered by the National Park and the energy project belonged to them and protested the setting of the park and energy projects since 1971 for failing to respect their customary rights over land, their traditional institutions, failed to seek their consent and uprooted them to new relocation sites with no survival means and options. She spoke of her long experience of struggle for land rights and survival of her family and retorted, “We are really oppressed”. Those who oppressed others need be considerate of other peoples’ survival rights. Maasai children go to school, but because of poverty and survival challenges, cannot attend higher education. As such, most continue to remain without employment and the loss of land only makes the survival options much more difficult. The women, elderly, disabled, the widows suffered most. She continued that the Maasai people are moved from good, flat, productive land to a place, barren, rocky and hard to survive, in the name of development. The world needs to listen to our realities, how difficult it is for us to survive. The single word ‘oppressed’, Ms. Esther mentioned, speaks volume of the oppression, state hegemony and collusion with neo-liberal forces to plunder peoples land and resources with sheer unaccountability. With limited representation in the Kenyan political arena, local and national politicians have no interest to attend to the issues, the rights concerns and expectations of the Maasai of Olkaria region.
Mr. Rasto Merige, another Maasai community member shared the commissioning of Olkaria Stage I to V has led to forced displacement of four indigenous Maasai villages and areas resettled in 1700 acre resettlement site, known as “RAP land”. The titles which had been offered in RAP land turned out to be leaseholds and therefore, do not constitute affected peoples’ ownership. The relocated Maasai people are required to payment of approximately 1700 US Dollars for the rehabilitation site in RAP land and Cultural Centre. The Maasai people lose their land and can no longer graze their cattle and thus directly affected their livelihood. Difficulty with access to water source, lack of infrastructure and school remains a challenge in RAP land. Women, elderly, widows and disabled suffered most.
Communities expressed concerns that the leasehold rather than community ownership of land titles will leave them in a precarious situation – requiring payment of an annual, revisable rent, and requiring permission for any significant changes to the land. The RAPland now represents a symbol of systematic destruction of the Maasai people’s way of life. The residents of Olkaria Maasai Cultural Centre, one of the villages that were relocated to RAP land are now restricted to only 14 acres of land and largely depended on cultural tourism, tour guide and sale of a variety of Maasai beads and artifacts. The Government and the company insisted on divide and rule policy to break the unity and social fabric of the Maasai, making it more conducive to seek alienation of their land. Indigenous way of life, culture and traditions has been disturbed completely in the forced rehabilitation at RAP land.
Community response and harassment: In addition to impacts on Maasai people livelihood, the Geothermal Energy projects led to environmental impacts, primarily on the wildlife in the park due to its location in a fragile ecosystem. The excavation for the project structures led to loss of habitat and interfered with bird breeding sites and the use of heavy equipment during geothermal development emitted uncontrolled noise. The discharge of brine from production wells have contaminated water and soil, increasing demand for water used for drilling geothermal wells, thus leading to over extraction of water from nearby Lake Naivasha, a Ramsar Site, for domestic and industrial purposes.
The International Financial Institutions (IFIs) investing in the project failed to recognize indigenous peoples’ rights and to implement safeguard policies to mitigate multifaceted impacts. Representatives of the affected Villages filed a complaint with the World Bank Inspection Panel and the EIB Complaints Mechanism on project implications from failures to comply their safeguard policies in the resettlement process. The affected people raised social and environmental concern due to the development of Olkaria V with financing by JICA. On 8 February 2017, community members raised these concerns in a protest outside the Nairobi offices of JICA and KenGen. In response, on 15 February 2017, KenGen filed charges to the High Court of Kenya in Nakuru against members of Four Maasai villages.
Observation and commentaries: After listening to Ms. Esther and other Maasai leaders in Olkaria area, the fascination of the wildlife and the landscape one witnessed while entering the park, now unraveled a reality that increasingly pressed the Maasai in the periphery of survival and that propagate the Maasai as the offender and enemy in their own land. The true meaning of the nomenclature as Hell’s Gate Park, seems fully revealed, after the Maasai peoples prosperous land now been transformed into an inhabitable, hostile place riddled with inhumane, merciless, greedy, undemocratic practices unleashed by the corporate with State oppression of Maasai people. It is highly unfortunate that the Maasai people are completely driven out from their traditional territory by Agri-Business farming companies, National Park, Geothermal Power Plants, with such processes facilitated by financial institutions.
The tensions and conflict among the indigenous peoples of Olkaria and the Kenyan State that deepens its collusion with multinational companies and IFIs is deepening. The overwhelming focus to advance the business interest of the latter while conscripting the community rights space is a clear testimony as to how development effectiveness principles, encompassing human rights, ecological sustainability, gender equality, accountability etc are all undermined. What’s happening in Olkaria region is just a repeat of the European colonial exploitation of Africa centuries back, but this time with a modus operandi of clearly established principles of free market under World Trade Organization by neoliberal forces, legitimizing the loot and plunder of resources from the developing countries like Kenya. Developing States like Kenya are just reduced to an instrument and mechanism to cater to the interest of developed countries and their corporations. But, the ultimate question is can a nation gain progress by pauperizing its own people, like the Maasai in Kenya? How can such exploitative process be projected as development?
Most unfortunately, the ones involved in the controversial Olkaria Geo-thermal Energy projects are also the ones increasingly involved in the financing of extractive industries, hydropower projects, infrastructures projects etc in Manipur and across India’s North East. JICA is preparing to finance the 66 MW Loktak Downstream Project and the Imphal Water Supply Project from Mapithel dam and also other road projects, such as the Imphal Moreh road project etc that will also facilitate building more controversial dams to aggravate land loss and violation of indigenous peoples rights in Manipur. The liming mining by Lafarge in Meghalaya with financing by European Investment Bank, the International Financial Corporation, Asian Development Bank etc has led to multifaceted violations of indigenous peoples rights. The German financial arm, the KFW is also preparing to finance protection of Forest and Wetlands in Manipur for climate change adaptation. But there’s concern the move will insist on conversation measures and introducing false climate change solutions, like the REDD+ which has proved controversial across the world. The collusion of Indian State, Developed countries, Corporations and IFIs to facilitate plunder indigenous peoples land and resources while suppressing their rights has become an alarming concern across India’s North East region.
With focus on private sector development and increased liberalization of economy, Manipur will be just reduced to another African State, fragile, afflicted with multiple conflicts, neck deep in corruption and indebtedness arising out of increased loan for development projects. The increase case of authoritarian regime, instability, fragility seems to be a deliberate creation to foster an enabling environment, political, legal etc for multinational companies to promote their market and profit. The question is whether the EIB, KFW, JICA, USAID, AFD funds projects in NE really care for development of people in the region or for very different reasons, including for commercial gains. The testimonies of the realities of conflict and fragility, rights violation, environment destruction, unaccountability of states & correlations with IFI financings, widening gap of inequality simply testified the development intervention, politics and strategies of development countries and facilitation of States is simply problematic. While situation aggravates and complicates and survival challenges gets worsened such as in Olkaria Area among Maasai, rich developed gets more and more developed. The dominant system becomes too exploitative leading to an increased impoverishment and inequality among communities.
Another question is as the economy, societies and political power of developed countries grow, will the situation of indigenous peoples like Maasai, whose survival is increasingly conscripted and forced out by the global unjust system and State’s hegemony and corruptive practices, ever improve? Should we allow the flourishing of people from rich countries at the cost of extinction of marginalized, indigenous peoples of Kenya or in Manipur for that matter? The same question is pertinent for Manipur, where the neoliberal forces and the Government of India unleashed politics of economic and political domination, expropriation of resources with militarism. Should we allow the indigenous peoples to cease to exist as peoples? There’s an inherent problem with this development model pursued.
For Kenya’s indigenous peoples, colonialism and imperialist practices finds much relevance even after the British left the Kenyan hinterlands. Even after Kenya’s independence. Maasai peoples’ land is consolidated and only possesses by the new political class, which indigenous peoples have no space. Only consolidating and continuing the British policies of domination, dispossession, oppression and human rights violations is antithesis to the development of indigenous peoples. How is the Kenyan state different from the colonial powers, the British? The same question is also an issue one need to be raised in Manipur, again a British territory before? Colonial policies pursued today, security and development, is simply continued, worsening with more capitalist countries, teaming up for collective raids and plunder in far flung frontiers, cordoned off from the practice of democracy, justice and human rights.
Despite the challenges, the Maasai Peoples standing up for their rights, taking the case to the Government challenging them in courts and challenging the unaccountability and exploitative financing by financial institutions, multilateral banks etc, present much hope. Especially the persistence and consistent efforts to reclaim their land to seek justice and to correct the arbitrations by IFIs and developed countries, despite the threats and harassment presents much hope for the Maasai and similarly for many other politically and economically disposed and struggling peoples. This is also an opportunity for IFIs, donor countries, MNCs and the State itself to reflect on their flaws of development model propagated within Indigenous territories and to improve in terms of recognition of rights of Indigenous peoples, full-fledged compliance to human rights standards and compliance with development effectiveness principles. Gone are the days when power and might rule the roost where the rights regime is nonexistent. In the world of so called democracy, any inhumane practices and those propagating undemocratic practices are simply a bane of the society.
States should ensure the full respect for indigenous peoples’ way of life, their survival relationship with their land and their right to free, prior and informed consent for any development decision affecting their land, resources, rights and future. Any intimidation or reprisal against development challenged people seeking rights and justice from corporate bodies, the IFIs and the State should be withdrawn. Decimation and complete annihilation of indigenous peoples, alienating from their land and survival sources and pushing them to brink of survival, extinguishing the future of their generations can never be considered as true development, as hence must be rescinded.
Article and Photos by Jiten Yumnam | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kawsak Sacha: An Assertion of the Right to Self-Determination
Scroll down for the Spanish translation / Desplácese hacia abajo para la traducción al Español
Kawsak Sacha: An Assertion of the Right to Self-Determination
Statement of Support of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) for Kawsak Sacha of the Kichwa of Sarayaku
The Kichwa of Sarayaku, Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, has one of the richest histories across Latin America in defending their territories against plunder and exploitation. Companies and governments have had several attempts to enter the territories of Sarayaku for oil, timber, and minerals extraction. But the determination of the Sarayaku community to defend their territories never faltered. In 2012, the Kichwa people were victorious in stopping oil exploration that could have devastated their ancestral lands, displaced them from their communities, and brought serious ecological damage to the entire Amazon. In spite of this victory, the Kichwa people remain steadfast in protecting the Amazon forest, which is critical in their survival.
The Indigenous Peoples of Sarayaku are active in all fronts to preserve their territory for the future generations. They engage in grassroots actions to stop the entry of companies, community organizing, lobbying and dialogues with the Ecuadorian government, UN processes to seek support, and international solidarity work to build broad network for their campaigns.
Last March 24, 2018 in an international gathering in their community, the Sarayaku upheld the Kawsak Sacha or The Living Forest. This is a proposal made by and for the Kichwa of Sarayaku. The proposal banks on three basic principles: the recognition of their territory and their commitment to its protection and conservation against plunder, the viability and practice of their culture that emanates from their relationship with the land and all biodiversity therein, and, implement a model of life plan and exercise of self-determination.
The IPMSDL believes that Kawsak Sacha is a continuing fight of the Kichwa people in asserting their rights to land, self-determination and way of life amidst the global pressure of imperialist domination. Kawsak Sacha is an invaluable contribution of the Sarayaku community to the world that brings proofs of the sustainability of Indigenous practices and traditions in utilization and management of natural resources.
It counter poses the prevailing notion that Indigenous Peoples are anti-development. Rather, it is an alternative model to the capitalist system that plunders our territories and natural resources for super profits of the few. It is a practice of self-determined sustainable development. Hence, a better world is possible.
Kawsak Sacha reflects the collective effort and strong political will of all Sarayaku people to survive. It is in this light that solidarity among the Sarayaku, other Indigenous Peoples, and all the oppressed and marginalized peoples of the world shall be promoted and strengthened against a common enemy that perpetuates injustices.
It is in this context that IPMSDL supports Kawsak Sacha and their struggle for land, life, and resources against further exploitation. We encourage all – indigenous and non-indigenous peoples – to read, study and share the document. Hopefully, in its practice and application, Kawsak Sacha shall be further enhanced.
LONG LIVE KAWSAK SACHA! LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE OF THE SARAYAKU PEOPLE AND ALL INDIGENOUS AND OPPRESSED PEOPLES OF THE WORLD! UNITE AND STRUGGLE FOR OUR RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND LIBERATION!
El Kawsak Sacha: una consagración del derecho a la autodeterminación
Declaración de apoyo del Movimiento Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas por la Liberación y la Autodeterminación (IPMSDL) al Kawsak Sacha de los kichwa de Sarayaku
Los kichwa de Sarayaku, un pueblo indígena de la selva amazónica del Ecuador, poseen una de las experiencias más curtidas en toda Latinoamérica a la hora de defender su territorio contra la explotación y el expolio. Numerosos son los gobiernos y las compañías que han intentado entrar en el territorio de Sarayaku en busca de petróleo, madera y minerales. Sin embargo, la determinación con la que la comunidad de Sarayaku defiende su territorio nunca ha flaqueado. En 2012, los kichwa lograron paralizar unas exploraciones petrolíferas que, de haber seguido adelante, habrían conllevado la destrucción de su territorio ancestral, el desplazamiento de sus comunidades y daños medioambientales graves en toda la región del Amazonas. Alcanzaron la victoria, pero no por ello el pueblo kichwa ha cejado en su empeño por proteger la selva amazónica, un elemento crucial para su supervivencia.
Los pueblos indígenas de Sarayaku combaten activamente en todos los frentes posibles con el fin de preservar su territorio para las generaciones venideras. Participan activamente en acciones sobre el terreno para paralizar la entrada de las empresas, así como en la organización de la comunidad, iniciativas de cabildeo, diálogos con el gobierno de Ecuador, procesos de la ONU para reunir apoyo y proyectos de solidaridad internacional para tejer una amplia red para sus campañas.
El pasado 24 de marzo de 2018, en un encuentro internacional en su comunidad, los pueblos de Sarayaku defendieron el Kawsak Sacha o “selva viviente”. Se trata de una propuesta realizada por y para los kichwa de Sarayaku. Se basa en tres principios básicos: el reconocimiento de su territorio y de su compromiso a protegerlo y conservarlo frente al expolio; la viabilidad y práctica de su cultura, que emana de su relación con la tierra y toda su biodiversidad; y la implementación de un modelo de plan de vida y ejercicio de autodeterminación.
A ojos del IPMSDL, el Kawsak Sacha representa una continuación de la lucha del pueblo kichwa por consagrar sus derechos sobre la tierra, así como a la autodeterminación y a conservar su estilo de vida en un contexto de presión global por la dominación imperialista. Con el Kawsak Sacha, la comunidad de Sarayaku aporta una contribución de un valor inestimable al planeta. Se trata de una prueba de la sostenibilidad de las tradiciones y prácticas indígenas en cuanto al uso y la gestión de los recursos naturales.
Este modelo se contrapone a la idea prevalente de que los pueblos indígenas están en contra del desarrollo; por el contrario, representa un modelo alternativo al sistema capitalista, que expolia nuestros territorios y nuestros recursos naturales para el gran beneficio de tan solo unos pocos. Conforma una práctica de desarrollo sostenible y autodeterminado gracias a la cual un mejor mundo es posible.
Mediante el Kawsak Sacha, la comunidad de Sarayaku hace gala de un esfuerzo colectivo y una sólida voluntad política por sobrevivir. En este contexto, queremos promover y reforzar la solidaridad entre la comunidad de Sarayaku, los otros pueblos indígenas y todos los pueblos marginados y oprimidos del mundo frente a un enemigo común perpetuador de injusticias.
Por todo ello, el IPMSDL respalda el Kawsak Sacha y su lucha por la tierra, la vida y los recursos frente a la explotación creciente. Alentamos a todos, ya sean pueblos indígenas o no indígenas, a que lean, estudien y compartan el documento. Con suerte, el Kawsak Sacha se verá fortalecido en el futuro, tanto en la práctica como en su aplicación.
¡VIVA EL KAWSAK SACHA! ¡VIVA LA LUCHA DE LOS PUEBLOS DE SARAYAKU Y DE TODOS LOS PUEBLOS INDÍGENAS Y OPRIMIDOS DEL MUNDO! ¡UNÁMONOS Y LUCHEMOS POR NUESTRO DERECHO A LA AUTODETERMINACIÓN Y A LA LIBERACIÓN!