On China’s Landgrabbing in Cambodia

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination & Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the continuing and heightening exploitation and repression by the combined forces of Heng
Fu Sugar Industry Company and the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) against the Indigenous Kuy of Preah Vihear, Cambodia.

Heng Fu and its subsidiaries, Lan Feng, Rui Feng, Heng Nong, Heng Rui, and Heng You, easily obtained 42,000 hectares land concession, which is more than the allowable limit of 10,000 hectares per entity, by circumventing the Land Law of 2001 and of Subdecree No. 146 on Economic Land Concession of 2005. They have been detrimentally operating in Preah Vihear since 2012 when it started clearing lands in preparation for a sugarcane plantation. In 2013, Heng Fu signed an agreement with the Indigenous communities stating that the company would stop plowing rice fields but even then, the company went on clearing forests and plowing over farm huts and rice fields. The community was left with nothing but destroyed land, livelihood, cultural identity, and sacred sites. Children had to drop out of
school because their families could no longer support their education. Until today, there has been no proper free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) process nor impact assessments conducted.

The active investment and involvement of Chinese government and companies in Cambodia is part of their One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative that aims to take a larger role in controlling the political and economic affairs in the Mekong subregion, in general. As an expression of their imperialist domination, they have encroached the lands of Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos for building dams along the Mekong River, extractive operations, and plantations projects. These development aggression projects push Indigenous communities and other vulnerable sector to further marginalization.

In response to the increasing human rights violations in Preah Vihear, community villagers and organizations submitted complaints and petitions to the provincial court, to the RGC, to the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, and to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights calling for the immediate cancellation of the concessions. However, these engagements
fell on deaf ears and worse, military forces are being deployed to suppress people’s uprising by assaulting, arresting, making death threats, and doing other forms of harassment against the villagers. Moreover, the company has engaged in bribery with local authorities who tolerates such atrocities.

The unabating attacks to the rights of the people and the ineptitude of the RGC to protect the rights of the people have fueled resistance against exploitation and repression. The villagers held camp-outs and
blockades to denounce and delay the operations of Heng Fu in their communities while asserting their right to land, resources, and territory. It also draws national and international attention and support.

IPMSDL demands accountability from the Royal Government of Cambodia and the government of China as duty-bearers and enablers of these supposed development ventures. Thorough investigation by an independent group should be conducted on all cases of human rights violations committed by the State and company forces against the people of Preah Vihear.

We stand with the people of Preah Vihear in their call for the immediate cancellation of Heng Fu’s sugarcane concessions and just compensation for all the losses and damages. We strongly call for the repeal of the economic land concession and other related policies.

We oppose the OBOR of China and other imperialist interventions that only perpetuate human rights violations, loss of livelihoods, and environmental and cultural degradation.

The current political situation in Cambodia underscores the need to continuously and collectively fight the systemic resource plunder and political repression. The history of Indigenous Peoples resistance relies on our collective strength and struggle. We must bring our peoples movement to new and greater heights to defeat all forms of exploitation and repression by imperialist powers and their local cohorts!







Stand with Cambodian communities vs. Chinese company’s landgrabbing!

We, the undersigned, demand a stop to the massive landgrabbing and destruction of the lands of peasants and indigenous communities in Preah Vihear, Cambodia by Chinese conglomerate Guangdong Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co., Ltd.

Hengfu’s operations directly impact 25 villages inhabited by more than 200,000 people. It has razed local forests and farmland and caused the loss of livelihood, poisoning of waterways, destruction of ancient cultural sites, and irreparable damage to the Kuy people’s indigenous heritage. The operations have been associated with various repressive schemes aimed at restricting locals’ organized activities and resistance and forcefully displacing them. In some cases, this repression has been carried out directly by Chinese workers.

We call on the Kingdom of Cambodia to revoke the economic land concessions (ELCs) given to Hengfu’s subsidiaries – Heng Nong, Heng Rui, Lan Feng, Heng You, and Rui Feng – that are enabling the conversion of almost 40,000 hectares of land owned and used by local and indigenous communities into large-scale plantations for sugarcane for export. We demand that the Cambodian government, together with the provincial authorities of Preah Vihear, hold Hengfu accountable for its violations of domestic and international environmental and human rights guidelines and standards. They should also uphold and protect the interest of the Kuy people in recognition of their inherent rights as indigenous peoples.

We also urge the Government of the People’s Republic of China to remove Hengfu from Cambodia and remove all such exploitative Chinese corporations from Cambodia and the whole Mekong region. China should comply with its international commitments that will serve to protect the environment and uphold human and indigenous people’s rights.

We stand with the local and indigenous communities who are battling Hengfu and China’s landgrabbing, eviction, and destruction of the environment in Cambodia.






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On the Attacks on Indigenous Rights Defenders of Latin America

Scroll down for the Spanish translation / Desplácese hacia abajo para la traducción al Español

Indigenous Peoples Under Fire: Attacks on Indigenous Rights Defenders of Latin America

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the continuing and heightening attacks on Indigenous rights defenders in Latin America. Throughout Latin America and across the globe, imperialist powers and their local cohorts have aggressively been exploiting the ancestral lands and territories of Indigenous Peoples (IP) which undermines and violates their very rights to self-determination and self-determined development. Consequently, those who defend land and Indigenous rights are targeted with constant harassment, intimidation, and prosecution by State apparatus – be it the government, the law, or the military.

Last January 5, Patricia Gualinga of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku received death threats from an unidentified individual while at home with her family in Puyo, Ecuador. The attacker also threw rocks at her house and other physical damage to her property.[i] Patricia and the Kichwa People have actively fought for their lands and livelihoods against Chinese oil extractive projects and the exploitation of the Bobonaza River. The illegal appropriation of ancestral lands without the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples have caused numerous cases of human rights violations.

The recent incident of harassment against Kichwa People is not an isolated case as it is also happening in other Indigenous communities in the continent. In Guatemala, Juan Eduardo Caal Suram of the indigenous Maya-Q’eqchi’ community, is currently on house arrest and facing trumped-up charges of “illicit association” and “unlawful assembly and demonstrations” among others because of his efforts to defend environmental and Indigenous rights.[ii]

A few months before Suram’s arrest, Carlos Maaz Coc, also from the Maya-Q’eqchi’ community, was shot dead while attending a peaceful demonstration calling on Guatemalan authorities to resolve the contamination of Lake Izabal due to Guatemalan Nickel Company’s operations.[iii]

The Indigenous Peoples of Argentina also faced numerous attempts to be dispossessed of their territories last year which led to repression, imprisonment, and deaths of IP.[iv] The Mapuche people have been demanding land rights for decades and received nothing but demonization by the State to delegitimize them as a people. Among the victims of this brutal repression are Rafael Nahuel and Santiago Maldonado. The 22-year-old Nahuel was shot during an operation of security forces against the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance in Villa Mascardi. On the other hand, Maldonado disappeared after he was arrested at a demonstration for the rights of the Mndigenous group in southern Argentina on August 1. Almost 3 months after his disappearance, he was found dead in a river.

Repression of IP are further enabled by inutile and deceptive government agencies. The Government of Argentina has appointed an individual from an NGO as head of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI) which is well known to favor the private sector. The NGO, Cambio Democrático Foundation, held a lot of dialogues with the Mapuche community supposedly to get their consent but in the end, still promoted hydraulic fracturing to increase oil and gas production in Mapuche land, which brings risks of ground and surface water contamination, and air and noise pollution.

Capitalist accumulation sustains political persecution; national economic power and transnational power need the use of force to consolidate and reproduce. Alberto Acosta, Ecuadorian economist, says that, “All extractives, not only mining, are vertical processes that displace, uniform, dominate and colonize. In these visions, there are no collectives or plurinationalities.” Many Indigenous rights defenders, who have been victims of political prosecution and harassment in Latin America, have opposed natural resource exploitation in their territories. We urge governments in Latin America to stop development projects that only promote socio-economic injustices and environmental destruction for the benefit of the ruling elite at the expense of the people. IPMSDL demands justice to all Indigenous martyrs and heroes who selflessly served the interest of Indigenous communities.

IPMSDL calls on the indigenous Peoples’ organizations, communities, and advocates in Latin America to resist and defeat fascist offensives against our people and plunder of our territories. We must strengthen our international solidarity with all the oppressed peoples of the world in our struggle for self-determination and liberation! It has been proven since time immemorial that only through our collective struggle in asserting our Indigenous and democratic rights, victories are ours! ###

Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | info@ipmsdl.org



[i] https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/patricia-gualinga-attacked-received-death-threats

[ii] https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/juan-eduardo-caal-suram-arbitrarily-detained

[iii] https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/carlos-maaz-coc-killed-while-participating-peaceful-demonstration

[iv] https://www.pagina12.com.ar/86366-un-ano-de-represion-y-despojo



Pueblos indígenas bajo fuego: Ataques contra los defensores de los derechos indígenas de América Latina

El Movimiento Internacional de Pueblos Indígenas para la Autodeterminación y la Liberación (siglas en ingles IPMSDL) condena enérgicamente los continuos y crecientes ataques contra los defensores de los derechos indígenas en América Latina. En toda América Latina y en todo el mundo, las potencias imperialistas y sus cohortes locales han estado explotando agresivamente las tierras y territorios ancestrales de los Pueblos Indígenas (PI), que socavan y violan sus propios derechos a la autodeterminación y al desarrollo autodeterminado. En consecuencia, aquellos que defienden la tierra y los derechos indígenas son blanco de hostigamiento, intimidación y persecución constantes por parte del aparato del Estado, ya sea el gobierno, la ley o el ejército.

El pasado 5 de enero, Patricia Gualinga del Pueblo Kichwa de Sarayaku recibió amenazas de muerte de un individuo no identificado mientras estaba en casa con su familia en Puyo, Ecuador. El atacante también arrojó piedras a su casa y otros daños físicos a su propiedad. Patricia y el pueblo Kichwa han luchado activamente por sus tierras y sus medios de subsistencia contra los proyectos de extracción de petróleo de China y la explotación del río Bobonaza. La apropiación ilegal de tierras ancestrales sin el consentimiento libre, previo e informado (CLPI) de los pueblos indígenas ha causado numerosos casos de violaciones de derechos humanos.

El reciente incidente de hostigamiento contra el pueblo Kichwa no es un caso aislado, ya que también está sucediendo en otras comunidades indígenas del continente. En Guatemala, Juan Eduardo Caal Suram, de la comunidad indígena Maya-Q’eqchi ‘, se encuentra actualmente bajo arresto domiciliario y enfrenta acusaciones falsas de “asociación ilícita” y “asambleas y manifestaciones ilegales”, entre otros, debido a sus esfuerzos para defender el medio ambiente y derechos indígenas.

Unos meses antes del arresto de Suram, Carlos Maaz Coc, también de la comunidad Maya-Q’eqchi ‘, fue asesinado a tiros mientras asistía a una manifestación pacífica en la que pedía a las autoridades guatemaltecas que resolvieran la contaminación del lago Izabal debido a las operaciones de Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel.

Los Pueblos Indígenas de Argentina también se enfrentaron a numerosos intentos de ser desposeídos de sus territorios el año pasado, lo que llevó a la represión, el encarcelamiento y la muerte de la propiedad intelectual. El pueblo mapuche ha estado exigiendo derechos a la tierra durante décadas y no ha recibido nada más que la demonización por parte del Estado para deslegitimarlos como pueblo. Entre las víctimas de esta brutal represión están Rafael Nahuel y Santiago Maldonado. Nahuel, de 22 años, recibió un disparo durante una operación de las fuerzas de seguridad contra la Resistencia Ancestral Mapuche en Villa Mascardi. Por otro lado, Maldonado desapareció luego de ser arrestado en una manifestación por los derechos del grupo indígena mapuche en el sur de Argentina el 1 de agosto. Casi 3 meses después de su desaparición, fue encontrado muerto en un río.

Los organismos gubernamentales inútiles y engañosos permiten aún más la represión de la propiedad intelectual. El Gobierno de Argentina ha designado a un individuo de una ONG como jefe del Instituto Nacional de Asuntos Indígenas (INAI), que es conocido por favorecer al sector privado. La ONG, Fundación Cambio Democrático, sostuvo una gran cantidad de diálogos con la comunidad mapuche supuestamente para obtener su consentimiento, pero finalmente promovió la fracturación hidráulica para aumentar la producción de petróleo y gas en tierras mapuche, lo que genera riesgos de contaminación de aguas subterráneas y superficiales. y contaminación del aire y el ruido.

La acumulación capitalista sostiene la persecución política; el poder económico nacional y el poder transnacional necesitan el uso de la fuerza para consolidarse y reproducirse.  Alberto Acosta, economista ecuatoriano afirma que, “Todos los extractivismos, no solamente la minería, son procesos verticales, que desplazan, que uniforman, que dominan y colonizan.  En esas visiones no existen los colectivos o las plurinacionalidades”. Muchos defensores de los derechos indígenas, que han sido víctimas de persecución política y hostigamiento en América Latina, se han opuesto a la explotación de los recursos naturales en sus territorios. Instamos a los gobiernos de América Latina a detener los proyectos de desarrollo que solo promueven las injusticias socioeconómicas y la destrucción del medio ambiente en beneficio de la elite gobernante a expensas del pueblo. IPMSDL exige justicia a todos los mártires y héroes indígenas que sirvieron desinteresadamente el interés de las comunidades indígenas.

El IPMSDL hace un llamamiento a las organizaciones, comunidades y defensores de los pueblos indígenas de América Latina para que resistan y derroten las ofensivas fascistas contra nuestro pueblo y el saqueo de nuestros territorios. ¡Debemos fortalecer nuestra solidaridad internacional con todos los pueblos oprimidos del mundo en nuestra lucha por la autodeterminación y la liberación! ¡Desde tiempos inmemoriales se ha demostrado que solo a través de nuestra lucha colectiva para afirmar nuestros derechos indígenas y democráticos, las victorias son nuestras! ###

Referencia: Beverly Longid, Coordinadora Global | info@ipmsdl.org

Merdeka Study Conference Proceedings


The Merdeka Study Conference was held  in order to understand the history and current situation of West Papua, and to substantiate their right and struggle for self‐determination. Among the study conference’s output is the proceedings which contains the following:

  1. Declaration of the study conference delegation
  2. Keynote Addresses by Antonio Tujan, Joanna Cariño, and Prof. Jose Maria Sison
  3. Presentations by representatives from West Papua, Indonesia, and Australia

The publication also includes an introduction by IPMSDL Global Coordinator Beverly Longid, as well as photos from the events and solidarity messages from partner organizations.

To request a softcopy of the Merdeka Proceedings, kindly send an email to the Merdeka Network Secretariat: merdeka.sec@gmail.com

IPMSDL joins the 14th International Civil Society Week in Suva, Fiji

The CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the Pacific Islands Association of NGO’s (PIANGO), co-hosted the 14th International Civil Society Week (ICSW) from 4-8 December in Suva, Fiji with the theme “Our Planet. Our Struggle. Our Future.” For the first time, the ICSW was held in the Pacific Region following the campaign to highlight the effects of climate change on small islands. The week’s programme consisted of a youth assembly, concurrent events, cultural festivities, and networking events that built up to the CIVICUS world assembly.

IPMSDL, as one of the event partners, sponsored a forum entitled Self-Determination and Liberation in the Pacific.  The forum, organized in partnership with Dewan Adat Papua and Land is Life, served as a space for organizations from the different island states in the region to share their struggles for self-determination and liberation and to establish solidarity among these nations through the introduction of Merdeka (West Papua Support Committee), which was initially launched during a study conference in Davao City, Philippines last March.


IPMSDL Global Coordinator Beverly Longid facilitated the forum

The discussion on West Papua included the roots of conflict, the civil and political rights situation under Indonesian occupation – including the social and cultural rights, and the resistance movements formed in response to the injustices. The speakers from the Solomon Islands highlighted the rampant corruption, gender inequality, and foreign take-over of indigenous lands in their islands and how the struggle for self-determination in SI roots back to the Malaitans’ aspiration of governing themselves free from British interference. The sharing from Kanaky featured some individuals who made notable contributions to their independence movements such as political activist Jean-Marie Tijbaou.

From these stories, there existed a common theme of indigenous peoples’ marginalization in their own lands – from issues colonization and repression to modern-day deprivation of basic social services, freedom of speech, militarism, harassment, killings, and so on. These are the same issues from years ago that brought about a rich history of resistances and liberation movements in these island states and led to the formation of various people’s organization as we know today.

Referring to one of the interventions during the forum, although we may  live in the same region of the world, this does not necessarily mean that we are aware of what each nation is going through and this accentuates the significance of having avenues such as the forum for building international solidarity – while we can express our support for the struggle of other nations in various ways through our CSOs, NGOs, and POs, facing and winning our local battles is also one of the best means to urge other nations to win theirs. At the same time, we must also remember from our experiences that our legal battles are limited and constrained without the support of our mass movement on the ground.

By the end of the programme, the delegates wrote down on paper their call to actions and insights based on the discussion to support the struggles of West Papua and the Pacific Island states; among these are “Your liberation is our liberation”, “strengthen our partnerships amongst peoples who are also struggling for self-determination”, “self-determination is peoples’ right and government responsibility”, and “[to] liberate our land and resources is [to] liberate our life”.


Long live the struggle of West Papua for national liberation!

Merdeka for West Papua and all Pacific Island States!

On the 2017 International Human Rights Day: #FightTyranny

IPMSDL calls to uphold human rights in the Philippines amid US-Duterte regime’s “terrorist” crackdown in light of IHR Day commemoration

The International Indigenous People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) slams the US-Duterte’s fascist regime and its display of ruthless disrespect to the Filipino people’s rights and civil liberties. The Philippine government is acting as the major human rights violator, waging terroristic attacks against its people, and it is doing so under the auspices of the imperialist US.

The Movement raises grave alarm over Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s rising tyranny, which intensified militarization and human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples, rights defenders, and activists all over the Philippines. The state-perpetrated attacks peaked days before the International Human Rights Day, as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) escalated its counter-insurgency efforts that included civilians and legal organizations critical of the US-Duterte regime as targets.

IPMSDL particularly condemns the recent massacre of indigenous Lumads by military elements last Dec. 3 in Sitio Datalbong, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines. The 27th and 33rd Infantry Batallion of the AFP killed eight and wounded two of T’boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers as they were about to harvest their crops from their farmland, which was formerly a 300-hectare coffee plantation for Nestle recently regained from the corporate giant David M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI). Prior to the incident, the military accused on media one of the victims, Datu Victor Danyan, to be a commander of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Aside from that, military offensives caused Lumad communities in Sarangani province and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao to forcibly evacuate. Soldiers have even imposed food blockade to evacuees, alleging that they are supporters of the NPA. Lumad schools also continue to face harassment on ground and even online.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, rights defenders and activist leaders are experiencing harassments in various forms due to Duterte’s crackdown order against the militant mass movement. The number of cases documented are rising at the daily. These include the killing of two religious leaders in Luzon and the death threats received by countless activists in major cities.

All these took place less than a month ago since Duterte’s termination of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) through Presidential Proclamation No. 360, and the branding of the belligerent Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing NPA as terrorists through Presidential Proclamation No. 367. As if these are not enough, the AFP recommended the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao, which Duterte may expand to the whole country.

It is timely now, more than ever, to call for the upholding of human rights in observance of the International Human Rights Day. IPMSDL joins the Filipino people in the demand for land, livelihood, rights, justice, and accountability for all inhumane acts of the US-Duterte regime and the AFP.





On the 2017 ASEAN Summit

The imperialist powers are consolidating their control over Asia. This was proven by the recently concluded 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and East Asia Summit held November in Manila, Philippines.

Led by the imperialist US, world leaders discussed the promotion of neoliberal policies and programs to enable further state and private entities. In the face of the worsening global economic crisis, these imperialists attempt to preserve themselves through foreign intervention of underdeveloped and developing nations by having them open up their economies with the help of local puppets. ASEAN’s “development” agenda only favors corporations who only seek to maximize profits.

Under this neoliberal framework, the marginalized especially communities of Indigenous Peoples are being displaced from their ancestral lands and dispossessed of natural resources due to massive land grabbing. Their traditions and identities are degraded, their cultures commercialized, their rights especially to self-determination overstepped and violated. They face rampant discrimination and worsened poverty. The promised “growth” is only of imperialism’s benefit and never represent the peoples’ interests.

IPMSDL particularly decries the silence of these timely gatherings on numerous human rights issues in the region: the IP killings in the Philippines, Indonesian occupation of West Papua, Rohingya persecution in Myanmar, and Chinese land-grabbing and environmental plunder along the Mekong Region.

The Movement also criticizes the absurd misuse of public funds by the Philippine government to hosting a summit that is directed towards further exploitation of its people. A good portion of the PHP 15.5 billion-budget was squandered to quell the mobilizations in response to the event. Police used water cannons, truncheons, and the sonic weapon Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to violently disperse protesters. Hundreds were injured from both sides.

IPMSDL, along with our allies from the workers, peasants, women, youth, and other marginalized sectors, resolve to continue the struggle against imperialism, state fascism, and all that leads to the oppression of Indigenous Peoples in Southeast Asia and all over the world.





Uphold the Native Customary Rights of IP of Sarawak!




The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) congratulates the Indigenous Peoples (IP) of Sarawak for a successful protest action calling on their government to uphold and respect the Native Customary Rights (NCR) of Sarawak and resisting all attempts of resource plunder perpetuated by state and corporate actors.

On November 13, 2017, over 3,000 people of Sarawak staged a rally to denounce the recent Federal Court decision that favors various private companies to exploit their land resources at the expense of peoples’ welfare. The rally aimed at raising public awareness and consciousness of IP of Sarawak about their struggle to stop development projects that will push them further to the margins. Moreover, it sought to put pressure on their government to comply with Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Article 13 and 161E of the Federal Constitution that provide inalienable rights for the IP of Sarawak.

Malaysia, a hotspot for plantation and hydroelectric power projects in the region, has been a target for more investments on extractives and energy projects within the ancestral lands of Sarawak natives. However, the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of their right to self-determination is not guaranteed before any company enters their community. This has lead to conflict, displacement, and rights violations particularly to those who opposes the project. In fact, there were reports that companies hired private gangsters to attack Sarawak natives performing Iban rituals to summon the help of the gods to fight the companies.

Across the world, resource plunder and non-recognition of Indigenous rights have been becoming the norm. Many families in Indigenous communities in Cambodia were displaced due to systematic land grab scheme such as the economic land concession (ELC) and development projects like the Sesan II hydroelectric dam project. The Mapithel dam in Manipur has affected the livelihood of downstream and upstream communities as well as accessibility to water resource.

Amidst growing repression and exploitation, there is always a hope in peoples’ resistance. In Nigeria, the Ogoni community has risen against the attempt of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Shell, and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to resume its oil production in Ogoniland. The people of West Papua are advancing their struggle for self-determination and liberation.

Now more than ever, we shall continue to arouse, organize, and mobilize our ranks as we expand and broaden our fight for lands and resources among and between Indigenous Peoples. We must strengthen our international solidarity with all the oppressed peoples of the world.

The result of the protest of Sarawakians is a big step forward in building a stronger IP movement which shall be at the forefront of their struggle for lands, rights, and territories. Through collective struggle of Sarawakians, greater victories are possible! ###

Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, info@ipmsdl.org 

On the Attacks on Women Human Rights Defenders in Cordillera

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) denounce the political assault against women activists of Cordillera in the Philippines.

Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Sherry Mae Soledad, Joanne Villanueva, Rachel Mariano, and Asia Isabella Gepte were alleged to be members of the New People’s Army along with 18 other individuals. They were filed with fabricated charges of frustrated murder and multiple counts of
attempted murder in relation with encounters of the revolutionary armed organization with the 7th Infantry Division units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Ilocos Sur last August.

Around the same time, Shirley Ann Angiwot as well as church workers supportive of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines were tagged as “enemies of the State,” which circulated in social media. Alikes, Soledad, Villanueva, Mariano, Gepte, and Alingot are leaders of the Cordillera people’s movement, whose organizations are actively involved in campaigns for the rights and welfare of the indigenous Cordillerans. Recently, they were in staunch support of a local anti-mining alliance in Kasibu town that has been continually harassed by the 7th ID for their resistance.

IPMSDL expresses its grave concern on the heightening repression against human rights defenders in the Philippines, especially leaders of Indigenous people’s groups. With militarization intensified, state forces have conveniently red-tagged activist-leaders and human rights
defenders to quell dissent of affected communities and indigenous peoples’ groups against government-backed development aggression projects, guised as counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts. This is how Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte exercised his tyrannical rule: empowering fascist forces instead of uplifting the marginalized.

The Movement stands with the women activists of Cordillera and the communities they defend.





On Nasako Besingi’s Arrest


The International Indigenous People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) condemns the Cameroon government for the arbitrary arrest and detention of environmental activist and human rights defender Nasako Besingi of Cameroon, Central Africa.

On 25 September 2017, authorities arrested Besingi and raided his office in Mundemba, Ndian Division due to undisclosed charges. He was kept out of contact until the Buea Military Tribunal’s questioning on 28 September 2017. The court accused Besingi of insurrection and secession, and ruled his imprisonment at the Buea Central Prison while the preliminary investigation is still ongoing.

Besingi, the executive director of Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE), is known for leading the fight against the land grabbing of Herakles Farms, an American agribusiness company. The company is developing a 20,000-hectare palm oil project that is situated in the Congo basin, the world’s second-largest rainforested area and where Mundemba lies.

Nasako Besingi is just one of many environmental and human rights activists unlawfully arrested in different parts of the world.

In Agusan del Sur, Philippines, rural missionaries staff Julito Otacan and five other Banwaon human rights defenders were arrested in the morning of 27 October 2017. Otacan is a field worker of the project, Protecting and Promoting Indigenous Human Rights in the Philippines, organizing and facilitating the training of community members as human rights defenders, while the other five are members of Tagdumahan – a Banwaon Peoples’ Organization that has long been targeted by the military because of their vocal assertion of their rights to the Banwaon’s ancestral domain targeted by logging and mining companies.

In Sabah, Malaysia, Atama Katama and SM Muthu are being demanded to pay 340,000 USD aside from facing possible detention for defamation against Dr. Herman James Luping, a former Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah as a consequence of speaking out on Luping’s controversial appointment to the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

IPMSDL calls for the immediate release of Besingi and all other political prisoners all over the world. The Movement urges the Cameroon government to drop the unfounded charges against Nasako, and to recognize the rights and freedoms of its people more so of the marginalized. Let the English-speaking regions exercise their constitutionally granted independence and autonomy, in respect of their cultural origins and their right to self-determination, instead of wielding political repression that only worsens the social unrest.