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 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.
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!
Advancing Development Effectiveness in Indigenous Territories: IPMSDL in the 1st International Dayak Congress
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination & Liberation (IPMSDL), the focal organization for the Indigenous Peoples Sector of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), attended the 1st International Dayak Congress held at Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia from 24th until 26th July 2017. The Congress was organized primarily to discuss and converse among diverse stakeholders the advancement of the rights, indigenous cultures, way of life, and sustainable development among the Dayak people inhabiting the Sabah and Sarawak side of Malaysia and the West Kalimantan in the Borneo Islands. The IPMSDL delegates representing CPDE include Mr. Atama Katama, International Advisor of the Borneo Dayak Forum, Ms. Beverly Longid, IPMSDL Global Coordinator, and Mr. Jiten Yumnam, Secretary of the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur. They shared the issues and challenges in realizing development effectiveness in indigenous territories.
Ms. Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator of IPMSDL
IPMSDL organized a solidarity event on Development Effectiveness on 26th July which was attended by around 200 participants. Ms. Beverly Longid shared the history of colonization of indigenous peoples and their struggle and resistance for land, rights, and for survival. She also shared that the intrusion on indigenous peoples’ land of mining, oil exploration, large infrastructure projects, and the subsequent disrespect of traditional customary practices, multifaceted environment impacts, corporatization, and privatization, have further negated their self-determination. Indigenous peoples land and territories are also subjected to increased conflict, instability, militarization, human rights violations, and repression of traditional institutions and organizations. Ms. Longid also stressed the importance of building solidarity among different communities, stakeholders, and sectors which are equally or similarly exploited like indigenous peoples.
Mr. Atama Katama of the Borneo Dayak Forum and IPMSDL
Mr. Atama Katama of the Borneo Dayak Forum shared that indigenous peoples land in the Borneo islands, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia and West Kalimantan, Indonesia, are subjected to increased intrusion of multinational private companies pursuing oil palm and rubber plantations, as well as coal and mineral mines. He also shared that Free Trade Agreements and the insistence on liberalization over production for profit and privatization has seriously undermined indigenous peoples’ rights in Indonesia. The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement will further accelerate and reinforce monopoly capitalism in the Asian region and he stressed the need to uphold development justice.
The increased loss of land and forests to Palm oil plantations is worsening the loss of the Dayak peoples’ culture, rituals, traditional knowledge, and livelihood dependence on healthy forest. The originality of knowledge that comes from traditional knowledge, customary laws, rituals, dances, knowledge about indigenous plants and food, traditional healing, etc. is really valuable for indigenous communities. The changing globalized world is often detrimental to the prevalence of such traditional knowledge and the sharing and exchange of knowledge among the Dayak people involving the youths to further enliven the living cultures and mitigate the threats and challenge. Defending the land and forest in Kalimantan, along with imparting indigenous knowledge among the Dayak youths, is one way of defending indigenous peoples’ way of life and cultures and in asserting their self-determination over their land, lives, cultures, and future, and to resist imperialist globalization and corporate expansionism.
Mr. Jiten Yumnam of the Centre for Research and Advocacy – Manipur and IPMSDL
Mr. Jiten Yumnam of the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur shared that unsustainable and destructive development projects have threatened the survival of indigenous peoples of Manipur and North East. The 105 MW Loktak Hydroelectric Project, the Mapithel Dam, submerged 80,000 acres of land. The Proposed 1500 MW Tipaimukh dam, 190 MW Pabram Dam, and others that are expected to rise, will submerge 60,000 acres of land. Enabling environment has been fostered for private sector functioning while restrictions and targeting of indigenous peoples and human rights defenders are increasing. Despite the global accord agreed in Busan HLM, many governments refused to recognise the independent role of Civil Society in development. States have worked against indigenous peoples’ rights and organizations and denied their right to self-determination and to free, prior, and informed consent.
The IPMSDL event ended with emphasis on the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and also for all stakeholders, the State, and the corporate bodies in particular, to uphold CPDE’s key messages, viz, advancing human rights approach to development, promoting environmental sustainability, gender equality, CSO’s Enabling Environment, private sector accountability, just peaceful & a secure world order, and an inclusive multi-stakeholder partnership towards advancing development effectiveness.
The CPDE delegates also propagated that the role of CSOs recognised in the Busan Principles is carried forward in all development processes. Multi-stakeholder partnership should not only be for Public Private Partnership (PPP) or for the profit of corporations.
The 1st International Dayak Congress was also an occasion for sharing of experiences among indigenous peoples and for exposure to indigenous communities affected and challenged by mono cultivation in West Kalimantan. A visit at Kampung Raba and Tapis Village in interior West Kalimantan by Mr. Jiten Yumnam was a testimony to the ruthless destruction of forest land by the ever-expanding oil palm plantations and companies like Hilton, and the negation of community rights over their land and forest. In another visit on 29th July in Tapis Village, village elders complained that oil palm companies like Hilton, Agrina, and SGC plundered their forest through forest land acquisitions in the most exploitative means. The palm oil companies also deceived the villagers and incited conflict among them. The Indonesian Government is also preparing to mine Bauxite in a sacred hill within their village land in Kampung Raba and a peripheral village. The sharing in the village reflected not just the traditional wisdom and sustainable land and forest management of indigenous communities, but also the role of the Indonesian State and the corporate bodies in misleading indigenous peoples, pushing them to the brink of survival, and subduing their cultures and tradition.
The importance of adherence to human rights principles and recognition of indigenous peoples’ self-determination over their land and resources in all development processes of states, corporate bodies, and development financings is a message pervading in the congress and in the community visits. The promotion of indigenous way of life and sustainable management of land and resources with traditional knowledge and practices can foster sustainable development in Borneo. Ending forced development, establishing accountability mechanism for all development stakeholders, ending environment harm by unsustainable development projects, and rescinding all state effort and militarization to subdue indigenous peoples’ voices for self-determination and their rights is critical for advancing development effectiveness in Indonesia and in all indigenous land and territories.
Enlivening a Fading Culture: A Dayak Experience in Borneo
In an afternoon of July 2017 in Linga Ambawang village, located along the Samak River in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, around one hundred Dayak children and youth gather inside the traditional school to learn indigenous knowledge from their elders. The Dayak people, with several sub-tribes, are spread all over the Borneo Island and most have settled in the Kalimantan in Indonesia and in the Sabah and Sarawak State of Malaysia. The indigenous school, made of wood, cane, and bamboo, decorated with indigenous arts and musical instruments, was recently established by the Dayak youth with the support of their community elders. It was an enchanting experience how the children greeted their elders while following the steps to a dance led by Ms. Modesta Wisa, a Dayak young lady from West Kalimantan and Atama Katama, another Dayak from Sabah. They demonstrated graceful and rhythmic dance steps, which was passed on from their ancestors through generations.
The cheering of “Aros, Aros” filled the air when Dayak children greeted their elders in union. The graceful dance of the children to the beating drums enlivened the whole stretch of the school. Beautiful initiatives like these introduce our younger generations to indigenous cultures and orient them to keep our traditions alive. There was much hope in the collective voices of the children expressing appreciation in their learnings and in the initiative, itself. The ancestors and spirits of the land must be enchanted and delighted with such initiatives.
The village chief, Mr. Noeldi, shared that the indigenous school is at an early stage at just six-month-old but expressed his confidence that despite being small, it is a good beginning to promote their peoples’ culture and traditions. He believes that by maintaining consistency, the initiatives can be further strengthened until their traditional values and knowledge is fully protected and in the safe hands of the coming generations. The traditional school can rekindle and nurture indigenous children and youth’s connection with their land and territories for generations.
Ms. Modesta Wisa, one of the youths involved in setting up the indigenous school, shared that the school is a dream come true for her and that the initiative came from her people’s heart and passion that was made possible with the community’s support. Similar initiatives are being taken up in other places like Adat Radang, where knowledge on traditional craft and arts, caring for the land and environment, and promoting indigenous language are taught.
A village leader, Mr. Tomo, opined that loss of land and forest, already widespread in Kalimantan, has been uprooting the Dayak people, especially the youths, from their land. With traditional territories continuously usurped by monopolist, multi-national palm oil and rubber plantation companies, mining companies, and the state, it is high time for all generations to revitalize their intrinsic role as defendants of their land and forest. Revitalization and transmission of traditional knowledge by imparting them to younger generations is a crucial step towards sustainable and responsible management of their land, forest, and rivers and towards resistance against the companies’ continuing plunder and expropriation of their land and forest.
Speaking about the unique initiative, Atama Katama, a youth leader from Sabah, shared that indigenous youths need to learn and cherish their cultures and traditional ways, which are important in defending their rights over their lands and their future survival. Most indigenous resources are passed on orally, which can be a challenge in its preservation and promotion. Traditional knowledge on customary laws, rituals, dances, indigenous plants and food, traditional healing, etc. is very valuable for indigenous communities. As globalization in these changing times is becoming detrimental to the preservation of such knowledge, the sharing and exchange among the Dayak people, including the youth, is needed to enliven the cultures and mitigate the threats and challenges.
In a faraway village tucked between the forest and hills in the Central Part of Kalimantan in Borneo Islands, a small team of Dayak youths performed traditional songs and dance to a group of young Dayak children; another conscious initiative to keep their traditions and cultures alive amidst the strong waves of globalization that sweeps indigenous cultures and peoples off survival. In a courtyard by a traditional healer’s home in Mansio Village in West Kalimantan, indigenous youths are busy learning traditional dance and songs. At first, only a few children arrived but later on, more children joined in as the music and the songs played across the village. The teaching and learning process is a direct display of inter-generational learning of traditional Dayak knowledge. An indigenous martial art, Mallingkaba, was also shared to the youths along with the traditional healer. The elder children, aged 15 to 20, taught Mallingkaba to the younger ones, aged 4 to 11. Boys and girls were taught together and separately depending on their role and responsibility. The traditional shaman occasionally intervened when requested to share his knowledge and skills. When the collective learning began, the village was filled with the voices of the children from their songs, dances, and most importantly, the laughter and the expression of delight on their tender faces. The village is suddenly transformed and the parents and the other elders of the village also joined in on the learning activity. Indigenous learning in its best form, indeed!
As some of the traditional songs shared is about the glory of Kalimantan and the peoples’ care of their land, one could feel there’s much hope and that the Dayak’s vision of a socially, economically, and politically liberated Kalimantan is still possible. One is hopeful that the positive energy that prevailed during the learning process will carry through the coming generations and keep the people, their traditions, and their land alive for long and help the Dayak survive as peoples and as a proud nation. The sharing of knowledge across generations is indeed a beautiful experience and a moment to cherish. These activities are a conscious initiative of the Dayak youths to promote their traditional knowledge and practices amidst the increasing changes in their traditional cultures brought about by the land losses due to a plantation-based economy and rapid globalization.
Indigenous youths like Atama and Wisa attempt to promote cross-cultural exchanges and sharing among the Dayak youths of Malaysia and Indonesia and also to learn the challenges in their land and territories concerning environmental destruction, increased assault on their land, increased corporate expansionism and imperialist globalization, the invasion of foreign capital and the impacts on their land, forest, and resources, and its negative impacts on the culture of indigenous youths. Dayak youths today are inculcated to be stronger leaders to understand and respond appropriately to the challenges affecting their cultures and way of life.
Ms. Wisa shared that West Kalimantan has seen the fast intrusion of palm oil plantations which destroyed the forests that were the traditional source of livelihood and culture for the Dayak people. She expressed that defending the land and forests of Kalimantan, along with imparting indigenous knowledge among the Dayak youths, is one way of defending indigenous peoples’ way of life and cultures and in asserting self-determination over their land, lives, and cultures. Ms. Wisa is fully aware that the increased loss of her land and forest to palm oil plantations exacerbates the decline of their culture, rituals, and traditional knowledge which are dependent on the healthy survival of forest, including the women’s bamboo, cane, ad craft works. She works with Dayak organizations to ensure the protection of their peoples’ land, forest, and water, and the sustenance of their culture. Indigenous schools are needed to ensure the full embodiment of indigenous cultures and traditions.
The best learning happens when many generations from the community are involved and there is much hope that this conscious effort will help enliven the Dayak culture and traditions. The learning of the traditional dance and songs happened in a relaxed and conducive environment; there was joy and laughter all around and there was a strong sense of collective role and responsibility in keeping the traditions alive and in ensuring the survival of their people. The best of learning also happens in natural settings: in the forest and in the traditional long houses, far away from the crowded classrooms with rigorous strictures and compulsions on young minds. The willingness to learn and the conscious urge to embark on learning in the context of a rich but declining culture is what makes the entire learning process special and unique. The inculcation of Dayak youths and kids with traditional knowledge and to respect towards their elders will help them reconnect with their land and cultures.
Initiatives of the youths like that of Wisa, much concerned with the changing cultures of Dayak people, deserve much appreciation and support. She initiated the indigenous school for the Dayak children to impart their tradition, culture, and heritages, that would make the Dayak people a proud people with dignity and respect, and most importantly, a people fully able to assert self-determination over their land, resources, and their future. While involving herself in teaching Dayak dances, songs, and crafts, she also encouraged her friends and community elders to take responsibility and to also contribute in fostering Dayak culture and traditions. She seems to find solace in fostering inter-generational and inter-age connections among elders, women, youths, and children.
A visit at Kampung Raba and Tapis Village in interior West Kalimantan is simply a testimony of the ruthless destruction of forest land by the ever-expanding oil palm plantations of companies like Hilton and the negation of community rights over their land and forest. Mr. David Dumas, one of the villagers, shared how the palm oil companies have destroyed the forest land of their village and their indigenous way of life.
The palm oil companies also deceived the villagers and incited conflict among them. Similarly, in Tapis Village, the village elders complained that oil palm companies like Hilton, Agrina, and SGC plundered their forest through unleashed land acquisition with the most exploitative means. The sharing in the two villages reflected not just the traditional wisdom and sustainable land and forest management of indigenous communities, but also the role of the Indonesian State and the corporate bodies in deceiving indigenous peoples and pushing them to the brink of survival through annihilation of their cultures, tradition, and values. The Indonesian Government is also preparing to mine Bauxite in a sacred hill between their village land in Kampung Raba and another peripheral village. The Dayak people in both the Malaysian and Indonesian side of Borneo faces increased onslaught on their lands and resources and state repression especially in the Malaysian side. Indigenous youths are growing increasingly conscious of the unfolding realities and are preparing to undertake all efforts and means to respond to these emerging realities. The promotion of the indigenous way of life, of sustainable management of land and resources using traditional knowledge and practices will surely contribute to fostering sustainable development in Borneo.
The passing on of traditional knowledge and practices such as on traditional medicine also depends on protection of their land and forest resources. Indeed, losing our land and resources will also lead to loss of cultures, traditions and value systems within the community. Indigenous communities also need to respond to other factors that threaten their cultures, such as the introduction of larger economic and political forces that force indigenous children, youths, and women to migrate outside their territories for the sake of education, work, and other reasons. The visionary initiatives and practical approach of the Dayak youth is simply exemplary and gives a lesson for all indigenous communities beyond frontiers to conduct similar initiatives in other indigenous land and territories, such as in Manipur, that are directed towards asserting self-determination over their land, life, and future.
On the 55th Anniversary of the New York Agreement: MERDEKA FOR WEST PAPUA!
On the 55th year of the “Broken Promise,” the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and the Merdeka West Papua Support Network reiterate the call to free West Papua. We demand to allow the peoples of West Papua to vote for their independence, which was guaranteed by the New York Agreement of 15 August 1962.
The Papuans’ “act of free choice” never took place. We refuse to recognize the US imperialist-backed bogus referendum of 1969. The landmark agreement only officiated the turnover of West Papua’s colonization from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Indonesia.
This historical betrayal has led to the renewed national oppression and subjugation of West Papua. Its peoples only experienced extreme repression and genocide under the Indonesian colonial rule, whilst the riches of their ancestral lands are plundered. The government of Indonesia never fulfilled its “administrative responsibility” mandated by the agreement to advance the social, cultural, and economic development of West Papua.
The Papuans suffered from this grave injustice for more than half a century, and we say enough. It is time: Merdeka for West Papua!
We call the United Nations (UN) to fulfill its obligation to end colonialism and internationally facilitate a genuine referendum on independence among the peoples of West Papua. We also demand the UN to look into and act upon the widespread human rights violations in and territorial degradation of West Papua. The Indonesia government should be held accountable for its transgressions against the Papuan peoples.
Let us show our fervent support and solidarity to the global demonstration today, 15 August 2017, at London and in other parts of the world in commemoration of the “Day of Broken Promise.” Together, let us stand for West Papua’s self-determination and liberation.
MERDEKA FOR WEST PAPUA!
STRUGGLE FOR THE PAPUAN PEOPLES’ SELF-DETERMINATION AND LIBERATION!
US IMPERIALIST AND INDONESIA, OUT OF WEST PAPUA!
END THE COLONIZATION, OCCUPATION, SEVERE REPRESSION, AND GENOCIDE IN WEST PAPUA!
LONG LIVE THE PEOPLES OF WEST PAPUA!
#LetWestPapuaVote #BackTheSwim #FreeWestPapua
Let us also express our solidarity through this global petition addressed to the UN. These names will be delivered at the end of this month in Geneva after being swum 69 km across Lake Geneva by the Swim for West Papua team.
The Trump effect on the lives of Native Americans and other Indigenous Peoples
Trump is a racist and a bigot, and his statements and actions against Native Americans in the US show it.
The US president-elect has portrayed Mexican immigrants as murderers and rapists, accused a US judge of Latino ancestry of racial bias, and opined that most American Muslims are harboring, or are themselves, terrorists. In a political rally, he derisively called US Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas Warren” and insulted her Cherokee heritage. In a Senate hearing, Trump called out a Native American tribe for not looking like “real Indians.” Furthermore, he has been pushing for taxing of Native American reservations and has been pushing for the construction of more pipelines that will pass through Native American territories.
But it isn’t only Native Americans who are in danger from Trump’s presidency. His slogan of Putting America First should worry Indigenous Peoples the world over. Because Trump does not believe in climate change, he will disregard America’s commitment to reduce global emissions and protect the environment (on a side note, however, the US failed to fulfill it’s environmental commitments even under Obama’s presidency). American companies from the extractives and energy industries will probably have a heyday.
Already billions of dollars worth worth of minerals, oil and gas are being extracted from ancestral lands, and Indigenous Peoples are being harassed, displaced and killed by these companies in collaboration with local governments. Environmental disasters have followed in their wake. If Trump pushes for more income from American companies from their extractive and energy businesses and disregards the effects these industries have on the environment and the lives of Indigenous Peoples, the consequences will be staggering.
Trump’s statements before winning the presidency have also proven his fascist bent, and now he has control of the world’s most powerful military (read: bully). Throughout history the US has used its military to intimidate, dominate and invade other countries, although in recent years this has been in the guise of bringing democracy to supposedly undemocratic countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. But we all know that the US has used its military to protect its own interests, couching it in a very diplomatic language.
Trump will likely use the American military much the same way, except more brazenly. He won’t say he’s doing it for democracy, he’s going to say he’s doing it because he’s Putting America First. Indigenous resistance to American companies that operate on ancestral lands will meet with violence from the US military or its local military counterparts. Trump will make the recent government security actions on the violent Dakota Access Pipeline dispersal of Water Protectors look like a tea party.
But hey, having Trump as president does not mean the world’s about to end (well, I’m hoping). Donald Trump just won the US presidential elections, and his term will start on January 2017, yet his victory has already united many people in America in opposition against him, and this trend will continue. Trump will push for more global plunder and militarization, and this will galvanize Indigenous Peoples’ resistance on a world scale against US neoliberal economic policies that destroy indigenous lives. As global exploitation and oppression of peoples the world over continue under Trump, greater unity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples will be forged in the fight for self determination against US imperialism.
And therein lies the beauty in all this.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and may not necessarily reflect the views of IPMSDL.
Mark Ambay III is Research and Information Officer of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL). He is also associated with Katribu National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines and the Assert Socio-Economic Initiatives Network in the Philippines. Read more of his work on www.markambay.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter @markambay.
On October 23, 2016, hundreds of national minorities in the Philippines expressed their solidarity with Native Americans in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Filipino national minorities and Native Americans experience the same problems of plunder and militarization of their ancestral lands.
The event was also the occasion of the launching of the People Over Profit (POP) Network, an alliance of organizations and individuals against new free trade agreements. These new free trade agreements (NFTAs) contribute to the oppression and exploitation of peoples worldwide.
View the video on Filipino national minorities’solidarity with Native Americans in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline here:
“They’re destroying completely our way of life.” – Joseph Owate, Anishnabe Nation during the IPMSDL forum on “Indigenous Peoples Struggles and Resistance, Building Indigenous Peoples Solidarity” at the World Social Forum 2016 in celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
Read the complete report at http://www.thenationreport.org/world-social-forum-indigenous-peoples-struggles-and-resistance/.
We extend the invitation from the organizers to participate in the International Conference for Peoples’ Rights in the Philippines (ICPRP2016) on 23-24 July 2016 in Davao City, Philippines. The ICPRP 2016 also involves participation to the:
· July 16 to 20, 2016 International Solidarity Missions (ISM) in areas in Mindanao, Cordillera, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, and Panay region; and
· July 21 to 22, 2016 2nd General Assembly of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) in Davao City, Philippines.
The ICPRP 2016 and its related-events is a good opportunity for exposure, learning and solidarity with other Indigenous Peoples, human rights and environment groups around the globe. Kindly click on this website for more information: http://www.humanrightsphilippines.net/events/international-conference-for-peoples-rights-in-the-philippines/
“In Ecuador, we created an Amazon Women’s Alliance to defend our territory”
– Gloria Ushigua, President, Ashiñwaka
Yesterady at United Nations Headquarters, Alicia Cahuiya (Vice President of NAWE, the Waorani Nation of Ecuador) and Gloria Ushigua (President of Ashiñwaka, the Sápara Women’s association) from the Ecuadorian Amazon spoke out against the threats to Indigenous rights due to extractive industries in their lands and territories.
With support from Land is Life and Acción Ecológica, the two leaders traveled to New York for the 15th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. They are here to request a meeting with the Permanent Mission of China to the UN following the signing of two new oil projects between the Ecuadorian government and Chinese oil companies to explore oil reserves in their ancestral territories without their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).
“We are here to defend our rights because they are contaminating our lands and rivers… and the Ecuadorian government is not defending the rights of the Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation, the Taromenane”
– Alicia Cahuiya, Vice President of NAWE
Ms. Cahuiya and Ms. Ushigua read the letter to the Chinese Mission to the UN and are hoping to arrange a meeting in the coming days. They expect that United Nations system will listen to their voices and fully respect their rights.
The Amazonian women launched an emergency appeal from within the UN to seek international solidarity of all Indigenous Peoples, citizens and governments around the world to defend their traditional cultures and territories.