National Minorities Converge In Manila for Lakbayan (Journey) of National Minorities for Self Determination and Just Peace

In the Philipppines, Indigenous and Muslim peoples join hands for the first time in the fight for self determination.

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Reclaim Our Lands and Our Lives!

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The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) joins the Manobo Lumad people of the Caraga region in the Philippines in their campaign to reclaim their ancestral lands and their ways of life. The Lumad of Surigao del Sur and the whole of Mindanao island in Southern Philippines have been actively campaigning for justice for victims of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by government forces as well as an end to the militarization of their ancestral lands.

On September 1, 2015, Emerito Samarca, director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), and Datu Jovello Sinzo and Dionel Campos were summarily executed by paramilitary forces under the Magahat-Bagani group supported by the Philippine military. The paramilitary and military forces then remained encamped in the area of Barangay Diatago, Lianga in Surigao del Sur province. The Manobo people from the said area had no choice but to leave their ancestral lands and way of life rather than suffer more abuses from government forces. Since then more violations were committed by government forces, resulting in the forced evacuation of more Lumad from their ancestral lands. Over 2000 Lumad from five different towns of Surigao del Sur province alone have been forced to endure a year of hardship in evacuation centers in the provincial capitol due to the government’s relentless campaign to sell ancestral lands to large corporations interested only in exploiting the natural resources of indigenous peoples’ lands. Until today, not a single soldier or paramilitary personnel has been convicted for crimes committed against the Lumad.

Today, the Lumad continue their heroic struggle against militarization and indigenous rights violations with the support of indigenous rights advocates from the Philippines and the rest of the world. On September 2, 2015, the Manobo people from Lianga will return to their village in Barangay Diatago as a symbol of the Lumad campaign to reclaim their ancestral lands and their lives from the hands of the military. This return and reconstruction will start a wave of “reclamations” by different Lumad groups of their ancestral lands that they have been forced to leave due the presence of military and paramilitary forces and large corporations.

We recognize this “reclamation” as an act of defiance by the Lumad against continuing state repression of Indigenous Peoples. We are also cognizant of the fact that state and military forces and large corporations with vested economic interests are sure to look upon this “reclamation” as a challenge to their power. It is all too likely that they will devise a more savage way of ensuring that ancestral lands remain, now and forever, in the hands of the powerful few. We expect instensification of militarization and landgrabbing of ancestral lands.  We urge our Lumad sisters and brothers to be ever vigilant in defending our territories and ways of life as we continue to strengthen our selves and the movement to uphold the right to self determination of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.

We are one with the Lumad people of Mindanao in the campaign to reclaim and defend their territories and ways of life. We are awed by the courage of the Lumad in the face of great hardships they have faced the past year. We will continue to support the Indigenous People’s fight against militarization and other indigenous and people’s rights abuses not only in the Philippines but the rest of the world as well.

Reclaim Our Lands and Our Lives! Defend Our Territories and Ways Of Life! Stop The Killings! End Militarization!

Reference:
Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator

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Protect Our Waters and Territories, No to Dakota Access Pipeline!

 

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The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) stands in unity with the Standing Rock Sioux Dakota and Lakota Indigenous Peoples in asserting their right to protect the waters of their ancestral lands. Chairman Dave Archambault II of the Standing Rock Sioux reminds the world that Indigenous Peoples suffer from poverty and environmental sabotage because we are forced to subsidize for-profit corporations through schemes such as Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP).

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Stop the Attacks Against The Borok People!

Scenes of the bloody dispersal in Tripura (Photo by Anthony Debbarma)

The IPMSDL strongly condemns the violent and bloody dispersal of the peaceful protest held by indigenous Borok and other peoples in Agartala, Tripura, India on August 23, 2016. A minimum of 40 people were hurt in the said incident, all of them Indigenous Peoples.

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IPMSDL Statement on World Indigenous Peoples Day: Onward With the Struggle For Self-Determination! Defend our Territories and Ways of Life!

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The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation joins hands with Indigenous Peoples all over the world to celebrate the World Indigenous Peoples Day. As we commemorate this day, let us be reminded of the fact that there is much to celebrate about, but there is also much left to be done.

We faced many challenges last year. The world has become a more dangerous place for Indigenous Peoples. Our ancestral lands are still under attack, with giant multi-national and State companies creeping in, egged on by international and local neoliberal economic policies. Hundreds of thousands have been forcibly displaced due to these projects, forcing our people to part with lands passed on by our ancestors, breaking apart our peoples and slowly destroying our ways of life.

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IPMSDL World Indigenous Peoples Day Statement: Onward With the Struggle For Self-Determination! Defend our Territories and Ways of Life!

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The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation joins hands with Indigenous Peoples all over the world to celebrate the World Indigenous Peoples Day. As we commemorate this day, let us be reminded of the fact that there is much to celebrate about, but there is also much left to be done.

We faced many challenges last year. The world has become a more dangerous place for Indigenous Peoples. Our ancestral lands are still under attack, with giant multi-national and State companies creeping in, egged on by international and local neoliberal economic policies. Hundreds of thousands have been forcibly displaced due to these projects, forcing our people to part with lands passed on by our ancestors, breaking apart our peoples and slowly destroying our ways of life.

Guns and bullets by State security forces and corporate agents meet our resistance to projects that adversely affect us, with the death toll of indigenous rights activists and advocates rising every year. Governments continue to disregard our basic civil and political, and economic, social and cultural rights, and deny us basic social services like education, health and adequate shelter. Yet international bodies, governments and multi-national companies continue to exploit us, squeezing out each and every drop of blood and sweat and toil they can from our peoples.

In addition, government and corporate agents continue to bribe, co-opt or coerce indigenous leaders and activists in order to get their way with our lands. Giant multi-national companies and State agencies install fake leaders, create sham organizations and hold mock consultations to acquire free, prior and informed consent that they would not get otherwise from Indigenous Peoples groups determined to resist corporate encroachment of indigenous lands. This results in disagreements and divisions within our communities, thus benefiting business interests. They seek to sow disunity among our ranks, even as we seek to unite.

In the days to come, we expect more violations of our rights as Indigenous Peoples. We expect more underhanded maneuvers to divest us of our ancestral lands. We expect more corporate projects to encroach on our soil, as they try to gain more profits from our lands, sweat and blood. We expect repressive governments to unleash more and more of their dogs, snarling their way into our homes and communities and ultimately depriving us of our lives and freedoms.

Yet our situation is not hopeless. Millions of Indigenous Peoples are getting organized, while tens of millions more advocates are linking with us and supporting our cause. We have fought off gigantic companies like Oceana Gold in the Philippines from ravaging our forests and mountains. We have prevented dams like those in Baram, Sarawak from drowning our lands and us. We continue to seek justice for the victims of killings and harassment of indigenous rights activists and advocates. We have joined hands with other non-indigenous peoples in the battle against unjust neoliberal economic and other government policies, rising militarism, just wages, discrimination against women and other genders, and other peoples rights issues.

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Our strength comes from our unity not just among ourselves as Indigenous Peoples, but in unity with other oppressed peoples all over the world. Our resistance grows as we struggle to defend what is rightfully ours. We grow strong, and we will continue to grow stronger. We will continue to strengthen our ranks and consolidate our forces as we struggle to defend, to our last breath, our right to determine our future, retain our lands and regain our lives.

We will not be complacent because of our victories. We will not cower from fear. We will not our take our oppression in silence. Together with other exploited peoples all over the world, we will not be moved; we will not be shoved down. We will fight back!

Photos by Felix Diaz (top) and Jenna Pope (bottom)

A Chance for Peace: Supporting the Opportunity for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines

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All over the world Indigenous Peoples continue to face oppression and exploitation by uncaring governments and self-serving corporations. We are still one of the most marginalized sectors in society. States and big businesses continue to deny our right to self determination, our collective rights as peoples, our right to land, our very right to life. Wars of aggression, counter-insurgency and militarization displace us from our homes. Environmentally destructive activities such as large-scale mining, mono-crop plantations and their resultant disasters threaten our very existence.

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Nagaland: Time-tested attitude: an unwavering reality

In the backdrop of ongoing Ceasefire agreements and political negotiations that different Naga political organizations have entered into with the Government of India, and the various efforts of Reconciliation amongst the Naga political groups in particular, and so also with the silent efforts to reconcile with our past history of human sufferings, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights have been making its own effort to stay away from provocative issues and elements. However, the constant recurrence of acts with utter disregards for human life where Nagas are concerned, at the hands of Indian military personnel, one is left with choice but to express its resentments with pain and anger.

Amongst many others, we had the recent killings by Indian soldiers, who are supposed to be know all over the world “for their excellent behavior and discipline” (sic), of two young school Children now known as the infamous “Wuzu Firing”. In the past too, in the same district of Phek, we had the 14 Assam Rifles waging war on school children at Bible Hill Phek town for speaking in English while coming from school through the main road that passes through their camp, which was established after the Reverend in Charge of the Bible Hill was buried alive.

Last month, on the 23rd of June 2016, right in the heart of India, the world’s biggest democracy, at Bareilly in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, a young Naga boy in his 20s, in the person of Vezota Vasa, who was enlisted and serving as an Indian Sepoy of the Jat Regiment was murdered by his own camp-mates by all indications and evidences that the family has revealed through the media and to the various authorities in their search for truth and justice, in a situation where the family was not allowed even to see the whole body, Post-mortem carried out in the absence of the family, body cleaned in the absence of the family prior to the agreed time of cleaning etc.

Besides so many other incidences, both reported and un-reported, the Indian army continues to bulldoze and bully the Naga population through checking and frisking, raid houses, arrests people, even enforce liquor prohibition on highways etc. all under the protection of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, and side by side, conduct tours, contribute computers worth measly amounts and pose for photographs, conduct medical camps, all for cheap publicity and to say that they are the “friends of the hill people”.

All this actions and behavior are time-tested and nothing new to the Nagas and this are unwavering realities, which will be repeated again and again. NPMHR calls upon the Government of India to recall its military from all Naga areas for the sake of humanity.

Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR)
21 July 2016