UPDATE on UNPFII 2016
URGENT APPEAL – Five Lumads hurt as an evacuation camp in UCCP Haran, Davao City set to fire
Please join us in calling for an independent investigation on the burning of the evacuation camp of Lumad at the compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City on February 24, 2016. Let us join hands in calling for an end to the harassment of Lumad evacuees and the pullout of military troops in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and Bukidnon where the Lumad evacuees came from.
ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT
Jong Monzon, secretary general of PASAKA, a federation of Lumad organizations in the Southern Mindanao region, narrated that at 2:30 a.m. on February 24, 2016, evacuees woke up to the smell of gasoline poured on the canvas roofs of their tents at the evacuation center. Immediately after, the tents were set aflame when a lighted torch was thrown in. Five makeshift houses were already consumed by the fire when it was put out. Monzon said that he and other leaders went out after extinguishing the fire to report to the authorities about the incident. On their way, they saw the gasoline container that was used by the perpetrators.
Monzon and several other leaders immediately called the local 911 to report the incident. Media personnel and police officials responded to the scene and interviewed some of the Lumad evacuees, including Monzon. Monzon recounted that at the middle of the interview, a pedicab driver approached them to report that another fire has started in the dormitories of the UCCP compound, which was roughly 100 meters from the evacuation camp. The dormitory houses Haran workers and students.
Witnesses said that something was thrown into the vicinity of the dormitory which caused the explosion. Later investigations found that two lines of barbed wires were cut by the perpetrators to enter the UCCP compound. A bag containing a 1.5 liters soft drink bottle full of gasoline was also found.
Five were hurt during the incident, with three needing hospitalization, including two children. The children suffered burns when the canvas roofs melted and fell on the children’s feet. Some also had burns in their hands. The victims were sent to a hospital, but were denied attention. Hospital authorities claimed there was no recommendation from the 911 personnel. The injured are now under the care of health workers and medics inside the Haran compound.
The perpetrators were described by those in the evacuation center as three men, aboard a motorcycle. A white cap, which belonged to the one of the perpetrators was even left behind, stuck in the cyclone wires.
Initial reports from the Bureau of Fire Protection in Davao City pointed to arson.
The incident is part of a series of harassments and threats, which are no longer new to the evacuees seeking shelter in UCCP-Haran. Monzon reports that the military and members of the ALAMARA paramilitary group held a rally outside the UCCP once.
Monzon stated that as early as December 17 last year, ALAMARA has already threatened to burn the evacuation center in UCCP.
On July 23, 2015, however, Nancy Catamco, representative of the 2nd district of North Cotabato, brought anti-riot policemen and buses to force the Lumad evacuees to return to their communities. The incident resulted in a skirmish between the evacuees and the police and paramilitay elements.
The more than 700 evacuees started to arrive at the UCCP- Haran, batches, starting February 2015. Most them are from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte, while a number came from Kitaotao in Bukidnon province. The Lumad fled their communities when soldiers and military-backed ALAMARA militia forces occupied their communities and forcibly recruited them into the paramilitary group.
The continuing harassment on the Lumad evacuees seeking refuge at the UCCP Haran, and the insistence of state agencies to force them back to their communities, show a lack of understanding of their plight and a lack of concern for their safety and welfare.
Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:
1. The immediate investigation of the incident to be conducted by an independent body;
2. An end to the continued harassment and intimidation of Lumad in and out of their communities;
3. The immediate pullout of government troops from the Lumad communities;
4. The disbandment of all paramilitary groups;
5. The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians; and
6. The Philippine Government to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory
You may send your communications to:
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emmanuel L. CaparasSecretary, Department of JusticePadre Faura St., ManilaDirect Line 521-8344; 5213721Trunkline: 523-84-81 loc.214Fax: (+632) 521-1614Email: email@example.comJose Luis Martin GasconChairperson, Commission on Human RightsSAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth AvenueDiliman, Quezon City, PhilippinesVoice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below:
URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central,
Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
*photo credits to BAYAN-USA
Servindi: Updates from Peru [19 November 2015]
Indigenous women to hold Third National Congress
Under the motto Walking Towards Buen Vivir, the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP) will hold its Third National Congress in Lima. The event takes place every three years and aims to strengthen and empower indigenous women and its organizational processes at local, regional and national levels. From 25 to 27 of November , more than two hundred leaders from fifteen Andean and Amazonian regions will share their progress on ONAMIAP political agenda, making visible their demands and proposals. [Read more: http://servindi.org/actualidad/143970]Publication brings together indigenous peoples views and proposals on climate change
On 2 November, in the PUCP Cultural Center in Lima, the publication “Visions and Climate proposals of the Indigenous Peoples” was presented. The book compiles the experience of the Indigenous Peoples Pavilion at the UNFCCC-COP20 held in Lima in December 2014.The gathering was organized by the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and the Ministry of the Environment of Peru (MINAM). [Read more: http://servindi.org/actualidad/143106]
Leaked map reveals Big Gas eyeing most biodiverse place on earth
(By David Hill) Manu National Park in Peru’s Amazon is targeted by Pluspetrol, according to a leaked map of planned geological fieldwork. The company was given permission last year to expand its operations eastwards within a concession called Lot 88. If the Camisea gas project, as operations there are known, continues to expand eastwards beyond Lot 88, where it doesn’t currently have permission to operate, it would eventually affect the Manu National Park. [Read more:http://servindi.org/actualidad/142166]
Argentina: Mapuche leader found “not guilty” in unprecedented trial
(By Fionuala Cregan) The celebratory cries of “Marici weu” “Marici weu” could be heard echoing throughout the streets of the sleepy mining town of Zapala, in southwest Argentina. After eight days of intense deliberations in court and more than three years of preparation, Relmu Ñamku and two other Mapuches, Mauricio Rain and Martin Velasquez Maliqueo, were free. The case began in the community of Winkel Newen on December 28, 2012, when the Apache Oil Company and a contingent of police arrived to their lands with an eviction order. [Read more: http://servindi.org/actualidad/142166]
SERVINDI calls for volunteer translators – Sign up and support intercultural communication!
*The members and partners of the IPMSDL in Peru include the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP) and the Confederacion Nacional Agraria.
News Release Global Day of Action for IP Heroes and Martyrs
November 10, 2015
Unabated Lumad killings marked the Global Day of Action for IP Heroes in the Philippines
MANILA – Indigenous prayers, chants, songs, dances and a vow were offered as hundreds of Lumad commemorate the Global day of action for IP heroes and martyrs inside the Manilakbayan Camp in Liwasang Bonifacio ground in Manila.
On November 10, 1995 Ken Saro Wiwa and eight others from the Ogoni tribe were hanged by the Nigerian government because of their struggle against oil exploration activities of Shell Corporation. On this day, global Indigenous Peoples (IP) led by the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), take time to honor and dedicate their continuing action to IP heroes and fallen comrades all over the world.
Pya Macliing Malayao, Secretary General of the Katribu Kalipunan ng katutubong mamamayan ng Pilipinas said “in the Philippines the list of IP rights defenders killed in the course of their struggle against mining and other extractive industries continues to grow.”
“Three days before the Global Day of Action for IP Heroes, yet another IP leader – Datu Manliro Landahay, council member of Salugpongan lumad organization in Davao del Norte, was murdered by the bandit Alamara early morning of November 7” said Malayao.
Out of the 73 indigenous peoples who have been killed under the Aquino’s term 58 are Lumad, according to KATRIBU’s documentation released earlier.
For the past months, the Aquino regime through the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its killing machines, the Bagani forces, Alamara and other paramilitary groups, have committed the gravest crimes against the lumad communities in Mindanao. From March to November 7, 2015, seventeen (17) lumad leaders, activists, and community members, including two children, were killed in 7 incidents of extra-judicial killings and 4 massacres.
“Today we wave red cloths to pay tribute to our heroes and martyrs, we raise our clenched fists to condemn theexacerbation of human rights violations with impunity against indigenous communities in the last remaining 9 months of the BS Aquino Regime.
The IP leaders pledged to continue the struggle that their ancestors, heroes and martyrs has started.
“Today, we also marched the streets of Makati City to confront mining companies, the neoliberal policies, mining operations are killing our people,” Malayao added.
After the tribute, the Manilakbayan, Katribu and environmental groups rallied in front of the Toronto Ventures Inc. Resources and Development (TVI) a Canadian company that operates in ancestral lands of the Subanen in the Zamboanga Peninsula and commits human rights violations against indigenous and peasant communities, and the DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) who is alleged to be responsible for the abduction and disappearance of a Manobo native John Calaba, public information of the Kesasabanay Dulangan Manobo, (KEDUMA).
The Manilakbayan is the Mindanao people’s mobilization for the defense of land, the environment, and human rights, participated by around 500 lumad from different provinces of Mindanao. #
Reference: Pya Macliing Malayao, Secretary General – 09173631576
Rei Paulin, Media Liason – 09178169258/09391145897
[ENG/SPN]:Bauxite mining on Maoist tribal areas/La minería de bauxita en las áreas tribales maoístas
Ignoring the groundswell of public opinion against a resumption of bauxite mining, the Andhra Pradesh government has been taking concrete steps to start mineral exploration in the Eastern Ghats. The Maoists have used this opportunity to try winning support of the tribals.
Ever since the Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist)] made a tactical retreat from the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2004, engagements between the naxalites and the State police have been rare and unspectacular. Though the Maoists retained a presence in the tribal Agency areas in north coastal Andhra, a sort of ceasefire has prevailed, with either side preferring not to cross the other’s path.
But recent events indicate that the tribal hills of north Andhra are rumbling again. Three days ago, the naxalites abducted a sarpanch (village head). Last week, the Telangana police killed two Maoists in an alleged encounter in Warangal district. Just a few days later, three more extremists, including a top functionary of CPI (Maoist), were slain just beyond the inter-State border in Odisha. Given the extremely adversarial relationship between the two, it does not take much to resume the Danse Macabre.
However, a significant factor in the naxalites getting active again in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam is the State government’s intent to resume bauxite mining in the tribal hills. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu declared this on World Tribal Day last year and repeated it this year too.
Vulnerable areas along border
Last week, the CPI (Maoist) celebrated its Foundation Week in Srikakulam district in north Andhra, the very place where the party’s precursor, People’s War, staged its first uprising in 1969. On its part, the police are beginning to mobilise their own machinery to stop the naxalites from coming back to the plains areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
As many as eight places in the Srikakulam district along the thickly forested inter-State border have been identified as vulnerable and additional forces have been kept at strategic places along the Andhra-Odisha border. The government is going to establish an exclusive AP Special Police battalion in Srikakulam district due to its vulnerability to naxalite influence. “Stationing of extra forces is the need of the hour to curb Maoist activities along the AP-Odisha border,” said a senior officer.
“Many other moves of the TDP Government have further alienated the tribals and prepared the ground further for the Maoists. The government has given the Tribal Welfare portfolio to a non-tribal. The statutory Tribal Advisory Council has not been constituted even after more than a year of its coming to power. ”
These efforts are in addition to the new battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the 198th Battalion, which was raised with headquarters in Visakhapatnam to cover the three north Andhra districts.As always, the police adopt good cop/bad cop tactics. In north Andhra, the police have been trying hard to get closer to the tribals with their community policing initiatives. Though the tribals participate in such activities under pressure, there has been a significant shift away from the Maoists.
Moves to resume mining are not popular among the tribal people. There is a groundswell opinion among them against bauxite mining, which they believe will only displace them while enriching the plainspeople. Opinion is so strong against mining that ‘bauxite’ is, for all purposes, a banned word in the Agency area.
But, ignoring the public opinion, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government has been taking concrete steps to start mineral exploration in the Eastern Ghats.
To sway public opinion, the AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) has hired some educated local people to act as ‘facilitators’, people who will sell the idea of bauxite mining to their communities.
The Maoists have seen in all this an opportunity to win the favour of the tribals. They have been organising opposition to mining, and staging coercive steps to deter people from supporting mining activities. The APMDC’s facilitators have been warned, and some of their houses even burnt down. They were immediately shifted away by APMDC.
Many other moves of the TDP Government have further alienated the tribals and prepared the ground further for the Maoists. The government has given the Tribal Welfare portfolio to a non-tribal. The statutory Tribal Advisory Council has not been constituted even after more than a year of its coming to power.
The Maoists, on the other hand, have used the bauxite issue to stage a comeback in the tribal hills. The CPI (Maoist) top leaders have reportedly been touring villages on the Andhra-Odisha border area to give a boost to the anti-bauxite agitation. Meetings with tribal leaders are reportedly being organised in the interior areas. The response is said to be good. The Agency area could see violence in the future if the government goes ahead with bauxite mining. In such a situation, it won’t be a surprise if the tribal people support the Maoists in their bid to stop mining.
The region, one thick with forests spread over hills and valleys, provides the perfect staging ground for guerrilla tactics of the Naxalites. In fact, at one stage, the naxalites had even declared a ‘liberated zone’ consisting of 300-400 villages of Visakha and East Godavari Agencies and the adjoining Odisha area.
A full-scale resumption of hostilities between the police in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the naxalites is the last thing Chief Minister Naidu needs right now. His government, in order to attract investment, wants to project residual Andhra Pradesh as a State free of issues relating to law and order. An atmosphere of frequent encounters’ and naxalite attacks on state property would not send the correct signals at this juncture.