Online petition: Stop political vilification and harassment of human rights and,indigenous peoples’ rights defenders in Ifugao, Cordillera, Philippines

Dear Friends,

We are appealing for your support to raise concern and denounce the heightened incidents of political vilification, surveillance and harassment against members and leaders of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), local government or barangay officials, local organizations and indigenous people’s rights advocates in Ifugao province, Cordillera, Philippines. We encourage you to read and sign the online petition through the link below, and circulate or forward to your friends and network.

Thank you!


(For the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis, Ridgewood Residence Hotel, Baguio City, Philippines, November 5-8, 2010)

Joanna K. Cariño

Cordillera People’s Alliance

It is an honor and privilege to be able to address this International Conference on Indigenous Peoples, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis. I will speak specifically on the theme of self-determination and liberation as we seek to address the global crises. I propose to do so from the concrete experience of the militant mass movement in this region and my organization, the Cordillera People’s Alliance, and relate this to some theorizing on these themes.


The significant events, which sparked off the militant mass movement in this region in defense of indigenous peoples’ rights, were the Kalinga and Bontok people’s struggles against the World Bank funded Chico mega-dams, followed soon after by Tinggian opposition to the huge Cellophil logging and paper-pulp concession in Abra.  Chico and Cellophil were so-called priority “development projects” of the US-Marcos dictatorship throughout the dark years of martial law during the 70’s and 80’s.

These indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, long considered as among the most neglected and powerless sectors of Philippine society were able to stop development aggression against fearsome odds, by asserting their collective human rights to ancestral land and self-determination.  Their steadfast and uncompromising defense of their life, land, livelihood and resources earned the respect and support not only of the other indigenous peoples in the region, but also other progressive forces both here in the Philippines and abroad.  When they finally resorted to armed resistance after peaceful methods to seek redress of grievances had proved futile in the face of unbridled militarization, many were convinced that this was but a logical step for these warrior societies in the defense of their collective human rights.

The Chico and Cellophil struggles gave a deeper dimension to human rights, going beyond the narrow definition of individual civil and political rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the collective human rights of indigenous peoples.  The Chico and Cellophil struggles were waged in uncompromising defense of ancestral land and the assertion of the right to self –determination, to freely determine our continued existence as distinct peoples, and our economic, political and socio-cultural development, at a pace, which we ourselves define.

Chico and Cellophil led to an increased self- awareness among the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera and paved the way for the formation of a Cordillera-wide indigenous peoples mass movement, as it marked the shift from spontaneous localized reaction to more conscious and concerted unified action.  As the different Igorot tribes and sectors were increasingly exposed to each other in mass meetings, inter-tribal activities and peacepact (bodong) conferences, there was the opportunity for dialogue and mutual sharing and learning.  From here, the different groups realized that beyond their diversity, they shared a common history of national oppression; a common geography and territory – the Cordillera mountain range; a common persistence of their indigenous lifeways in the face of various threats, albeit in varying degrees; common problems and common enemies.

Chico and Cellophil brought to the fore the fact that the present-day problems of tribal peoples and indigenous communities are much bigger and more complicated than any faced in earlier historical periods.  More concretely, Chico and Cellophil showed the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera that their problems cannot be taken in isolation from the wider Philippine realities, and the incursions of imperialist globalization.

The indigenist romanticized view of tribal society as a static autonomous entity which should be preserved in its pure form shattered, as Igorots united with as broad an alliance as possible for the defense of indigenous peoples rights alongside the wider defense of human rights.  Although the Chico resistance at the start was the spontaneous tribal response to outside threat, it soon positioned itself firmly within the mainstream of the national democratic struggle in the Philippines.

Towards Defining the Substance and Features of Self-Determination

We organized the Cordillera Peoples Alliance for the Defense of the Ancestral Domain and for Self-Determination in 1984.  At that time, the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations was still in its infancy and the international process was just starting, unlike today when we already have the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Thus we had to stump our brains Towards Defining the Substance and Features of Self-Determination in the Cordillera.

After the Marcos dictatorship was toppled through a people power revolution in 1986, the CPA successfully lobbied the new government for the recognition of ancestral land rights and regional autonomy, which were included in the new Constitution.

The process defined in the Constitution towards setting up the Cordillera Autonomous Region is for Congress, with the help of a Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission, to draft an Organic Act to establish the autonomous region.  The Organic Act is to be submitted to the people for ratification in a plebiscite called for the purpose.

In 1990, RA 6766, the Organic Act to create the Cordillera Autonomous Region was submitted to the people in a plebiscite but was rejected by the voting population.  Again, in 1997, a new Organic Act, RA 8438 was the subject of a plebiscite, and again it was resoundingly rejected.

On both occasions, the militant mass movement campaigned for its rejection; notwithstanding that, it was the CPA that had lobbied for the inclusion of such a provision in the Constitution.  The CPA interpreted rejection to mean not necessarily a rejection of the concept of genuine regional autonomy as the form of self-determination in the Cordillera.  Rather, the rejection was of the collusion of central government and local reactionaries to coopt the earlier gains and derail the mass movement, the infighting and corruption of traditional politicians and opportunists who had jockeyed themselves into position in the new Cordillera bureaucracy, and the insincerity of government to substantially recognize indigenous peoples rights.

The militant mass movement has learned valuable lessons from the failed government experiment with regional autonomy. Genuine regional autonomy cannot merely be structural nor mechanical. For it to be truly meaningful for the indigenous peoples, it has to be predicated on a full and substantial recognition of indigenous peoples rights to ancestral land and self-determination. It cannot be merely granted from above; it has to be asserted by a conscientized and empowered people. It cannot be rushed, as it can only succeed when the people are fully knowledgeable and prepared for it.

Historical Context of the Right to Self-Determination  

Historically, the right to self-determination was originally applied to nations in creating their own independent states, and in asserting national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This was during the period of the development of modern capitalism in Europe alongside which the original nation-states were formed.  (Great Britain, France, Spain, etc.)

Unlike in Western Europe, where the development was towards integrated nation-states, in Eastern Europe where capitalist development was uneven, multi-national states were formed, states consisting of several nationalities.  Thus, minority nationalities were formed side by side with a dominant nationality in the multi-national states (eg. Austria-Hungary, Poland, Russia).   There existed inequality and national oppression between the dominant nationality and the minority nationalities.

Thus the issue of the right to self-determination was a major concern in the formation of the USSR. One of the major achievements of the USSR before its dis-integration was the unification of the various nationalities with the guarantee of the complete equality of rights for all nations, full recognition of the right of nations to self-determination, and regional autonomy for national groupings occupying their own territory within a multi-national state.

Expansionism and colonization then, and present-day neo-colonialism have stunted the natural course of development of many nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, for whom the autonomous development towards the capitalist nation-state has been effectively closed.  Instead, there is the continuing underdevelopment in the so-called “developing” countries, with monopoly capitalism at the root of this phenomenon.  The   oppression and exploitation brought about by direct colonization then and imperialist globalization now have resulted in the rise of national liberation movements in the colonies and neo-colonies, with the demand for separation or independence as the form of self-determination.

Within the neo-colonies, and even in pockets inside the developed countries, there is the persistence of pre-capitalist modes of production and social formations among indigenous peoples who have refused to give up traditional lifestyles.  Indigenous peoples are to be found all over the world and many are self-proclaimed “nations,” while living within a defined national territory of a nation-state.  Such tenacious persistence of traditional lifestyles even in the face of neo-colonialism and imperialist globalization are by themselves  manifestations of self-determination.

From the above, and notwithstanding the changing context, we may observe that self-determination has been a response to repression, to inequality, to discrimination.  Self-determination is thus an assertion of a people’s collective human rights and identity against oppression.

United Nations Framework and Its Limitations

When the United Nations (UN) was established after WWII, it appropriated the term nation (or nation-state) to refer to its member-states, notwithstanding that many of these states are not homogenous entities but are actually multi-national states.

Article 1 of the UN Charter says that among its three purposes is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on the respect for the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples…”

Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) also expressly state that “All peoples have the right to self-determination.  By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Take note that the application of the right of self-determination as used by the UN has been expanded from its original usage to nations to now include peoples.

The formulation appears to be an unequivocal statement of human rights.  This is not as simple as it seems, however, as the controversial question for a long time was how to define the category people/s, and which groups would qualify under this category.

With the approval by the UN General Assembly of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, indigenous peoples have won international recognition as peoples.  But what about other oppressed nationalities and national minorities, or even ethnic minorities, who are not necessarily indigenous peoples but who are presently minority peoples encompassed within wider State systems?

The UN is composed of States, which are dominated by local ruling classes who speak as though they represent equally all of the people in their country’s population, when in truth, there are significant sections of the population who are oppressed and discriminated against.  Furthermore, the majority of these States are subservient to the US superpower.  This makes it difficult for oppressed sections of the national population to qualify, in the view of States, as separate peoples.  Thus the modern States which compose the United Nations are threatened by the very concept of self-determination.  In truth, it was the indigenous lobby which brought UNDRIP to fruition, often against the position of their own State systems.

There is no explicit UNDRIP provision that refers to an indigenous people’s right to create an independent state.  Indeed, Article 46 clearly states: Nothing in this Declaration may be…construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States. 

The right of a people to freely determine its political status, in theory, includes the right to form an independent state that stands on equal footing with other nation-states, or otherwise, to define its mode of associating with an existing state wherein it enjoys the same rights as the other constituent peoples of that state.

Thus, the right to self-determination directly translates into the right of peoples to govern themselves without external impositions.  Historically, this right covers a wide range of options:

  • seceding outright from a state of national oppression and creating their own independent state;
  • joining a federation of states as one constituent and co-equal state;
  • constituting an autonomous political unit wherein it exercises a degree of self-rule within a broader nation-state; and
  • asserting specific rights as defined by the basic laws and through specific processes of the nation-state.

While there may be a whole range of forms of self-determination, the key issue is the empowerment of the people, the level of organization they are able to build, the struggles that they can successfully wage, including the support that they can generate from the wider population in the country, and internationally, based on the legitimacy of their struggle against oppressive structures.

The international struggle for the recognition of indigenous peoples rights has won a quantum victory with the passage of UNDRIP. Realities on the ground, however, are very far from these international standards, as will be attested to by the testimonies in this conference.   Just because there is a beautiful law does not necessarily translate to its meaningful implementation. Form is not necessarily the essence.

Presently, despite the great diversity of indigenous peoples worldwide, the truth is that there is also a great commonality in the problems that we face, among them:

  • Intensified plunder of land and resources by multi-national corporations
  • Massive displacement due to large-scale destructive projects of States and imperialist corporations (mines, dams, logging, SEZ, monocrop plantations, etc) and concomitant militarization
  • Grave human rights violations under the US-led War on Terror & corresponding “Security” Acts
  • Government neglect and deprivation of basic social services; Impoverishment
  • Racism, chauvinism and discrimination
  • National oppression and the non-recognition of our identity as indigenous peoples

It is about time to build a higher solidarity among indigenous peoples worldwide based on a deeper appreciation that imperialism and neo-liberal globalization is at the root of our common problems.  It is about time to build our strength and militantly assert our collective human rights to ancestral domain and self-determination, beyond the parameters circumscribed by the UN.  Let us unite as an international indigenous peoples’ movement for self-determination and liberation as we strive to build a better world beyond the neo-liberal capitalist model that has caused not only the climate crisis but the global economic crises as well.

A Briefing Paper On Indigenous Peoples Self-Determined Sustainable Development












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En el primer año tras el Tifón Haiyan

¡Pueblos del Mundo, avancemos hacia la Justicia Climática!

Descargar aqui.

Ya hace un año desde que el Tifón Haiyan azotó el centro de Filipinas: fue uno de los más fuertes y mortíferos ciclones tropicales de los que se tiene constancia, dejando miles de muertos y desaparecidos, millones de personas sin hogar y sus medios de vida destruidos.

Photo by Kate Yamzon

En conmemoración del primer aniversario del impacto del Tifón Haiyan y en honor a todas las víctimas de las crisis climáticas globales, declaramos este día, 8 de Noviembre, como el Día Internacional de las Comunidades Afectadas por el Cambio Climático, a la vez que hacemos un llamamiento a las comunidades impactadas por el cambio climático y a sus organizaciones para que se unan en la reivindicación de justicia y cambio de sistema.

Developing Countries and CC (Espanol)

El sufrimiento de las comunidades impactadas por el Tifón Haiyan es también similar al de incontables lugares alrededor del mundo. Globalmente, el número de desastres relacionados con el clima se ha triplicado desde la década de 1960. Cada año estos desastres resultan en alrededor de 60.000 muertes, principalmente en países subdesarrollados. Las pérdidas económicas directas en relación al PIB (alrededor de 100 billones de dólares americanos por año en la última década) fueron más del doble en los países de bajo ingreso en comparación con los países de alto ingreso. De media, 250 millones de personas se ven afectadas anualmente, un aumento de más del 30 por ciento en solo una década como resultado del cambio climático. Las mujeres son las que más sufren en términos de morbilidad (hasta 14 veces más), pérdida de medios de vida a largo plazo, migración forzosa, conflictos relacionados con el clima y, pese a ello, apenas tienen influencia sobre las políticas climáticas a nivel local e internacional.

Las Islas Carteret de Papua Nueva Guinea están literalmente hundiéndose, con olas gigantes arrasando cultivos y el creciente nivele del mar envenenando con sal los que quedan. La población indígena se ha visto forzada a emigrar y reestablecerse, convirtiéndose en los primeros refugiados climáticos.

En América Central, como en muchos lugares del Sur Global, los climas más cálidos han resultado en cosechas reducidas, incremento de plagas y enfermedades en las plantas y pérdidas en el ganado. Lo mismo ocurre en una serie de países en África, como Kenia, donde una sequía perenne ha diezmado la mayor parte del ganado y los cultivos de agricultores y comunidades pastorales. Esto es catastrófico para las regiones donde millones de personas dependen ampliamente de la agricultura para su alimentación e ingreso.

En la región del Sur de Asia, lluvias más frecuentes e intensas están destruyendo vidas y medios de vida. En Pakistán, patrones climáticos frecuentes e intensos está destruyendo las cosechas, particularmente en las provincias de Punjab del Sur y el Sind, las cuales proporcionan la mayor parte del suministro de trigo y arroz para todo el país. En Junio de 2013 en Uttarakhand, India, más de 5.700 personas muriendo a causa de rápidas inundaciones y corrimientos de tierra. Este año, los estados de Jammu y Cachemira sufrieron lluvias intensas 400 veces mayores que la media.


Esta locura es el resultado directo del sistema capitalista global que está basado en un crecimiento ilimitado de la extracción, producción, consumición y deshecho para el logro de un crecimiento sin fin de los beneficios. Una pequeña fracción de la población mundial se beneficia de este sistema – el uno por ciento más rico posee actualmente cerca de la mitad de toda la riqueza global. Las economías desarrolladas, que cuentan con el 15% de la población global, usan alrededor de la mitad de los recursos y son las que más contribuyen en términos de degradación medioambiental.

Tomamos consciencia del alcance de estas injusticias a la vez que el neoliberalismo menoscaba aun más la capacidad de los países en la frontera del cambio climático para responder a sus devastadores efectos. La infraestructura pública y social ha sido desatendida o incluso desmantelada como resultado de las políticas de privatización y austeridad impuestas en los países del desarrollo por las instituciones financieras internacionales. Millones de personas ven denegados servicios básicos como la salud, el agua, la gestión de residuos – que han sido transferidas a las manos del un sector privado guiado por los beneficios. La desregulación, implementada para favorecer al sector privado, ha llevado a un deterioro de las condiciones de vida – tanto sociales como medioambientales. Mientras el cambio climático amplia el número y la severidad de los desastres naturales, se amplía también el sufrimiento de los pobres a la vez que las causas profundas de su vulnerabilidad convierten acontecimientos naturales en desastres crónicos y dificultan una recuperación rápida.

Y, como buitres disfrutando de los restos de los muertos, los grandes negocios, en connivencia con los gobiernos y autoridades, han ideado incluso la manera de sacar beneficios de las tragedias de las personas. Hay numerosas pruebas de áreas afectadas por desastres que han sido convertidas en “zonas de inversión” para alianzas público-privadas entre grandes negocios extranjeros y locales, a menudo desposeyendo a comunidades previamente desplazadas.

Los pobres de las comunidades afectadas por el clima no tienen más opción que tratar de recoger las piezas de sus vidas después de cada desastre. En medio de la ineficiencia, corrupción e indiferencia de los gobiernos ante sus problemas, construyen solidaridad para protegerse entre si durante las calamidades, comparten recursos y mitigan los padecimientos.

Por todo ello, reivindicamos el final de las políticas y programas que violan la integridad de la naturaleza, saquean el medio ambiente y exponen a las comunidades ya vulnerables a sufrimientos y miserias aún mayores.

Rechazamos las falsas soluciones al cambio climático, como la “economía verde” corporativa y los planes orientados al beneficio, así como el comercio y las compensaciones de carbono, los pagos por los servicios de los ecosistemas, la producción de agro combustibles a gran escala, los planes de geoingeniería, el control de las energías renovables por parte de las corporaciones, la liberalización de los bienes y servicios medioambientales y otras medidas propuestas por algunas instituciones globales, gobiernos del norte y corporaciones. Estas medidas y políticas no son si no intentos de lavar el capitalismo con una fachada verde, objetivizar las capacidades de la naturaleza para proporcionar vida y sustento y concentrar aun más los recursos en las manos de las élites y sus grandes corporaciones.

Los países del capitalismo avanzado tienen la responsabilidad histórica de tomar acciones climáticas más ambiciosas por ser los principales contribuidores al cambio climático. Estos países deben comprometerse a metas cuantificables que mantengan bajo tierra el 80% de las reservas conocidas de combustibles fósiles y aseguren que la concentración de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera retorne a las 300 ppm. Deben proporcionar los medios para prevenir, minimizar y tratar los daños que emergen de su contaminación acumulativa en la atmósfera como parte de su deuda ecológica con los pueblos del sur global. Deben también cargar con los costes de la transferencia a los países en desarrollo de la tecnología necesaria para mitigar el cambio climático.

Estas demandas han de ser reflejadas en un acuerdo vinculante entre los gobiernos que actualmente negocian un nuevo acuerdo climático y una nueva agenda de desarrollo que será finalizada en 2015. Un nuevo mecanismo internacional para abordar las pérdidas y daños asociados con los impactos del cambio climático en los países en desarrollo debería ser adoptado para proporcionar una financiación adecuada y que no cree deuda, incluyendo fondos de compensación, cancelación de la deuda, planes de protección social y adaptación y mitigación lideradas por la comunidad y sensibles al género. Debe haber una plena y eficaz participación de las comunidades afectadas, incluyendo a las mujeres, en todos los niveles de toma de decisiones para abordar el cambio climático.


Pero, más importante, debemos luchar colectivamente contra el actual sistema, el cual es la causa principal del acuciante desastre ambiental. Está claro que las motivaciones básicas que mueven al capitalismo –es decir, expandirse, crecer y acumular más beneficio para unos pocos- están en contradicción con la realidad de los recursos naturales finitos y decrecientes de la tierra. Necesitamos encontrar un sistema alternativo y sostenible que asegure las necesidades materiales e inmateriales básicas para todas las personas a la vez que proteja el bienestar y equilibrio de la biosfera.

Mientras señalamos el aniversario del Tifón Haiyan y honramos la memoria de nuestras familias, parientes y amigos, decidimos continuar construyendo resiliencia popular frente al cambio climático a través de la solidaridad. Nos comprometemos a luchar por la justicia climática y a construir un nuevo sistema basado en la gestión racional, colectiva y democrática del uso de recursos en interés de los pueblos y el bienestar del planeta. ###

Firmantes Iniciales:

People Surge, Philippines | Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development (People’s Goals) | IBON International | People’s Movement on Climate Change (PMCC) | Land is Life | Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) | Kalikasan – People’s Network for the Environment, Philippines | Friends of the Earth International | Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) |  WALHI – Friends of the Earth, Indonesia | Idle No More | International Organization for Self-Determination and Equality (IOSDE) | Asia-Pacific Research Network (APRN) | Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON), India | Public Advocacy Initiatives for Rights and Values in India (PAIRVI), India | Tamil Nadu Womens Forum, India | Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh | People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) | Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN-AP) | Roots for Equity, Pakistan | Associación Raxcho’ch’ Oxlaju AJ (AROAJ), Guatemala | Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Nigeria | Ethiopian Consumer Society, Ethiopia | Third World Health Aid, Belgium | People’s Health Movement | Solidagro, Belgium | Society for Rural Education and Development, India | Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE) | Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), Malaysia | Kapaeeng Foundation, Bangladesh | Papora Indigenous Development Association, China/Taiwan | Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP), Nepal | Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples (TFIP), Philippines | Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRAM), Manipur | Sevalanka Foundation, Sri Lanka | Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC), Philippines | Centre for Sustainable Community Development (S-CODE), Vietnam | Kalipunan ng Mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP), Philippines | Unnayan Bikalper Nitinirdharoni Gobeshona (UBINIG), Bangladesh | International Womens Alliance (IWA) | Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Philippines | Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) | Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), Philippines | African Biodiversity Network | Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Philippines | SFA-Machakos, Kenya | Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)| Mugal Indigenous Women Upliftment Institute MIWUI (Nepal) | Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF), Thailand | Solidaritas Perempuan (SP), Indonesia | National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), Sri Lanka | Rural Women’s Association Alga, Kyrgyzstan | Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries/Medical Mission Sisters | Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria | UDYAMA, India | Bangladesh Krishok Federation | Presentation Sisters of Western Australia | Migrante International | Kilifi Distric Smallholders Farmers Association (KiDiSFA), Kenya | Migrante – Middle East | Rwanda Youth Alliance for Climate Actions (RYACA) | AMIHAN (National Federation of Peasant Women’s Associations), Philippines | Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency, PNG | Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights in Manipur and UN (CSCHR) | Centre for Organisation Research & Education (CORE) | Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer (FEIM) | International AIDS Womens Caucus (IAWC) | Women Won’t Wait End Gender Violence and HIV/AIDS NOW! | Ugnayang Pilipino sa Belgium (UPB) | Kenya Smallholder Farmers Association | Centre Tricontinental (CETRI) | William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador,, UK | Migrante Australia | Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation, India | PINAY Quebec, Canada | Dignity International | Pax Romana ICMICA | South Bronx Unite | Centre for Human Rights and Development. Mongolia | Society of Presentation Sisters of Australia and Papua New Guinea | Indigenous Women and Children Foundation, India | Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association (IDEA), Ireland | Intal, Belgium | National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON). USA | Global Forest Coalition | International-Lawyers.Org (Suisse NGO) | Association for Promotion Sustainable Development, India | Quercus – Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza, Portugal | Sociedade Sinhá Laurinha – SlauAmbiental, Brazil | Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Nigeria | Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice | Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Philippines | Endorois Welfare Council in Baringo County, Kenya  | Anglican Alliance| International Presentation Association | Coordinación de ONG y Cooperativas (CONGCOOP), Guatemala | Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho (FESPAD), El Salvador | Nahual Foundation | Secretaría Nacional de Medio Ambiente del FMLN (SENAMA-FMLN), EL Salvador | League of Filipino Students – SFSU, U.S.A | Marielos  Orellana | Sr. Sheila Kelleher, PBVM |  Sr. Maura Fitzsimons, PBVM | Sr. Pat Davis, PBVM | Programa De Campesino a Campesino (PCAC  y  MAELA), El Salvador | Federación de Cooperativas para el Desarrollo (FECODESA R.L.) Nicaragua – Centroamérica | Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN) | Cordillera Youth Center (CYC), Philippines | Aboriginal Rights Coalition | Alternativa Salvadoreña de Cooperativas (ALSACOOP), El Salvador | Confederación Nacional de Cooperativas Agropecuaria de El Salvador (CONFENACOA), El Salvador | Confederación Salvadoreña de Cooperativas (CONSALCOOP), El Salvador | Movimiento Salvadoreño por la Defensa de la Vida ante el Cambio Climático (MOSDEVI), El Salvador | Asociación de Directivas para el Mejoramiento del las Comunidades del Norte de Usulután (DIMECONU) | Asociación Nacional Campesina (ANC) | Society of Presentation Sisters of Australia & Papua New Guinea | Fundación Picachos | Fundación FUNETAP | Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) | Botswana Khewedon San Council | Kabisaka Water Resource Users Association (Kabisaka WRUA) |  Super Ethnic Minorities Rights , Kenya | Nubian Human Rights Forum | Peoples Advancement Centre (PAC), Nigeria | Okogun Odigie Safewomb International Foundation (OOSAIF) | | groundWork – Friends of the Earth South Africa | ULTeRA – Union Latinoamericana de Tecnic@s Rurales y Agrarios | Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, USA | Asociación Salvadoreña-Mesoamericana de Construcción de Paz (AMESCOPAZ), El Salvador | Friends of the Earth International | Asociación Civil Clectivo MAIZAL | FOE Mauritius | CEAG – Centro de Educación Ambiental de Guarulhos | SHISUK | Brigada Cimarrona Sebastian Lemba | Bolivian Platform on Climate Change | Netherlands Philippine Solidarity Movement (NFS) |

Indigenous Peoples on the move at UN side actions

26 September 2014

NEW YORK. Norma Maldonado, an indigenous woman from Guatemala, came to New York for her three minutes of intervention space at the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).

“It was worth it not because of the UN alone but because of the parallel activities initiated by indigenous peoples themselves,” she said.

The conference was attended by some 2,200 indigenous peoples from 100 countries.

Over the past week, the International Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) in partnership with other organizations initiated a forum on engagement with the UN system. It formed a colourful indigenous contingency in the largest climate march in history and participated in the civil society report back forum.

In partnership with the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), it also co-organized a People’s General Assembly after the UN meetings.

Beverly Longid, coordinator of IPMSDL, reported that they were able to bring together indigenous activists representing the six global regions.

“We were able to build an international IP movement for self-determination and liberation based on strengthening IP organizations on the mandate for international advocacy,” Longid said.

IPMSDL was also able to convene its International Coordinating Committee composed of representatives from Asia, Pacific, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America.

“Gaining new experiences and having a strengthened organization, IPMSDL is looking forward to the peoples’ summit and march, parallel to the COP in December this year,” Longid added.

Solo el pueblo, salva al pueblo

(Only the people themselves can save the people)

Windel Bolinget from the Philippines lamented that the WCIP is not a real conference of indigenous peoples.

“It is but a high level meeting of the General Assembly of the UN system. It is the unity and perseverance of the indigenous peoples that asserted their space in this assembly. It is the indigenous peoples who should be credited for the achievements recognized in the Outcome Document. The challenge is for governments and corporations to comply with their commitments,” Bolinget said.

The adoption of the Outcome Document is just the formalization of negotiations based on the demands embodied in the Alta Outcome Document of the global meeting initiated and convened by indigenous peoples in June 2013 in Norway.

Among the gains were equal time given for interventions of the governments and the IP’s and formal actions committed to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

“Recognizing the rights of IP as peoples and nations, collective right to land, territories and resources and indigenous knowledge, systems and practices are core issues of the historical struggle against systemic oppression of governments,” Bolinget said.

UN commitments short

The IPMSDL, however, criticized that the adopted document did not incorporate all their substantial demands.

“It completely rejected the demands against militarization of communities and political repression. There was no categorical statement on the right to self-determination and no clear mention on the treaties between IP and governments,” it noted.

“There is a need for fundamental and radical change for the indigenous peoples’ rights to be respected, and for the historical violations to be rectified,” said Leborsi Saro Pyagbara, President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People.

Leonard Imbiri, an indigenous leader from West Papua added that “IP doesn’t only confine its struggles within the UN. There is a greater need to strengthen the grassroots and widen international solidarity for self-determination.” ###

IPMSDL, CPA co-organize series of activities during UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and UN Climate Summit

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.

IMG_0044On 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.

IPMSDL members

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.

Intervention during WCIP

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.

Peoples General Assembly
Peoples General Assembly

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. #