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
CALL FOR ENDORSEMENT A Chance for Peace: Supporting the Opportunity for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines
The IPMSDL International Coordinating Committee recently approved a statement entitled “A Chance for Peace.” The statement is about the peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The civil war in the Philippines has resulted in the death of over 40,000 individuals since 1968. This death toll includes thousands of indigenous peoples in the country. Hundreds of thousands more have been forced to flee their homes time and again due to this war.
We believe the peace process, which the new Philippine president Duterte has vowed will include Indigenous Peoples, will give our brothers and sisters in the Philippines breathing space and, should a peace agreement be reached, will be beneficial to Indigenous and non-indigenous Peoples alike in the country.
We encourage everyone to read this statement. If you agree with what it says, please endorse the statement by emailing back to us through firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your endorsements on or before July 21, 8am Manila time.
Please be so kind as to disseminate widely to your networks. Looking forward to your favorable response. Thanks and more power.
Note: For those who will forward this statement, please ensure that the response will get back to us at IPMSDL so we can include their names on the list of those endorsing the statement. Thanks.
A Chance for Peace: Supporting the Opportunity for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines
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.
Our sisters and brothers from the Philippines face the same threats day in and day out. The Philippine government’s neoliberal economic and pro-big business policies have negatively affected the lives of Indigenous Peoples in the country, fueling more resistance to extractive and energy industry projects. This resistance, in turn, has been met head-on by the Philippine government with increased militarization of Indigenous Peoples communities, thereby maintaining a vicious cycle of human rights abuses and murders that continue to plague the lives of Indigenous Peoples every single day.
For so-called “peace and development”, over 80 Indigenous Peoples have been victims of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the Philippine military and its para-military groups and 30,000 have been forced to leave their homes due to militarization. Sexual assault and rape of indigenous women by military personnel have gone unpunished. 2000 indigenous youth have been forced to leave school due to government closure of indigenous schools. Military forces encamp in indigenous communities on an almost daily basis. Trumped up charges have been filed against hundreds of indigenous activists and their advocates. These abuses were done in the name of an anti-insurgency campaign, a campaign of red-tagging and anti-communist paranoia that delegitimizes the validity of Filipino Indigenous Peoples’ struggles for their right to self determination, to land, to life.
It is with glad hearts, then, that we welcome the statement of the Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to include our sister and brother Indigenous Peoples in the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Duterte, in his inaugural speech, stated that he looks “forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process.” An agreement for a just and lasting peace will give Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines the chance to attain what has been denied them by the previous administrations in the country.
We hope the resumption of the peace talks will lead to a lessening and eventual disappearance of violations of civil and political rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines. We also hope that an agreement on economic, social and cultural rights be signed and the rights to self determination, land and life of Indigenous Peoples be upheld therein.
We are optimistic. We believe this peace process has a chance to work. But we also believe that others with vested interests will derail this peace process in order to deny not only Indigenous Peoples but also others their rights. Thus our optimism is also coupled with watchfulness to ensure that the derailment of the Philippine peace process will not come to pass.
This peace process and the possible resulting peace agreement present a possibility of providing a template for future work of other Indigenous Peoples in other parts of the world. We believe this possibility should not be wasted.
We enjoin our sisters and brothers in the Philippines to be vigilant in militantly asserting their collective rights to self-determination, as well as continue to support the rights of non-indigenous peoples as well. We must continue to assert and claim these rights, and strive to to organize and educate more individuals and organizations on people’s issues. We call on all Indigenous Peoples and advocates of Indigenous Peoples rights all over the globe to support the peace process in the Philippines.
Let us join hands and continue to assert our right to self determination and break the chains of oppression all over the world.
Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
Ben Powless, Indigenous Peoples Rights activist, Canada
Casey Box, Land is Life, United States of America
Catherine Eatock, Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC), Australia
Celestine Nkabari Akpobari, Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Nigeria
India Reed Bowers, International Organization for Self Determination and Equality (IOSDE), Sweden
Jiten Yumnam, Center for Research and Advocacy Manipur (CRAM), Manipur
Leonard Imbiri, Dewan Adat Papua, West Papua
Marcus Terena, Inter-Tribal Committee, Brazil
Norma Maldonado, Asociacion Raxch’ och’ Oxlaju Aj (AROAJ), Guatemala
Rukka Sombolinggi, Alliance of indigenous Peoples in the Archipelago (AMAN), Indonesia
Saro Legbrosi Pyagbara, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Nigeria
Windel Bolinget, Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), Philippines
Endorsements For Organizations
Active Society Nepal, Nepal
Atama Katama, Borneo Dayak Forum, Sabah
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Metro Manila, Philippines
Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, Hong Kong
Catherine Coumans, Ph.D., Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, Canada
Cordillera Alliance, Hong Kong
Daniel Kobei, Executive Director, Ogiek Peoples Development Program, Kenya
Dr. Malem Ningthouja, Campaign for Peace and Democracy Manipur, Manipur
Geetha Lakmini, We Women Lanka, Sri Lanka
Gilda Cabongbong Banugan, Migrante International Taiwan Chapter, Taiwan
Gill Boehringer, International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers-Australia, Australia
Greg Reynolds, Inclusive Catholics Victoria, Australia
Indigenous Nationalities Women Youth Network, Nepal
Kakay Tolentino, BAI Indigenous Womens Network in the Philippines, Philippines
Khesheli Chishi, Indigenous Women Forum Northeast India
Kirat Chamling Associtaion, Nepal
Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association, Nepal
Kirat Chamling Youth Society, Nepal
Kirat Youth Society, Nepal
Martha Ntoipo, Executive Director, Pastoralist Information and Development Organization, Tanzania
Neingulo Krome, Secretary General, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, Nagaland
People Unity Youth Society, Nepal
Piya Malayao, KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU), Philippines
Rachelle Dyanne Llauder Bascarra, Vice-Chairperson, Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, United Kingdom
Rafael Joseph Maramag, Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, United Kingdom
Raju Bikram Chamling, Project/Program Coordinator, NGO-Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities, Nepal
Ramon Bultron, Asia Pacific Migrant Mission, Hong Kong
Remish Ekka, Adivasi Navjeewan Gathan Navjyoti Agua, India
Rey Asis, Asian Students Association, Hong Kong
Salai Za Uk Ling, Program Director, Chin Human Rights Organization
Samin Ngach, Cambodia indigneous Youth Association, Cambodia
Severin Sindizera, Director General AIDB-Burundi, Burundi
Shankar Limbu, Lawyers for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples, Nepal
Sr. Maria Fatima Somogod, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region, Philippines
Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS, Philippines
Tahal Thami, Director, Lawyers Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples, Nepal
unite brisbane, Australia
United Filipinos in Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Unity Society, Nepal
Youth Awareness Society Nepal, Nepal
Youth NGO-Federation, Nepal
Individual Indigenous Rights and Peace Advocates
Aileen RG Dabu, writer, Philippines
Aleli Bawagan, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Alex Turla Enano, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Allan Ponce-Enrile Tolentino, Asian Institute of Management Alumni Association, Philippines
Atty. Alnie Foja, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Angelito Delantar Araja, St. Clement Mission Seminary, Nicodemus Solidarity, Philippines
Danilo Capili, civil servant, Philippines
Donna Mae Francisco, Migrante New York, USA
Eric Guray, instructor, Philippines
Francis Villabroza, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Hope Vervilla, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Jaime Villaflores, Peace Advocate, Philippines
Dr. Judy M. Taguiwalo, Secretary fo the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Atty. Jill Santos, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Jo A. Santos, writer/photographer, Philippines
Johnry dela Cruz, RN, People’s Health Movement, Philippine Nurses Association of Metropolitan Washington DC, USA
Joselito Caparino, civil servant, Philippines
Lisa Marie Clemente, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Liz Adamos-Cortez, United Methodist Church, Philippines
Mae Fe Ancheta Tempa, Undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Malou H. Turalde, Assistant Secretary OPG Promotive Programs, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Misyel Grace Santos, Indigenous Peoples Rights and Peace Advocate, Philippines
Ron Magbuhos, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Rose Roque, Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy-UP Manila, Philippines
Stuart Harrison, Indigenous Peoples Rights and Peace Advocate, Australia
William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Defender and Freelance Journalist, United Kingdom
IPMSDL Statement On the Harassment of 15 Indigenous Peoples Rights Defenders in the Philippines
On May 13, 2016, 15 Indigenous Peoples rights defenders were charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention of more than one thousand Lumad (Indigenous Peoples) in Davao City, Philippines. The Lumad were encamped in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound since April 2015, forced to leave their homes and their ancestral lands due to heavy militarization and proliferation of para-military forces in their lands.
The 15 indigenous peoples rights defenders are Kerlan Fanagel, a Lumad leader and member of Kalumaran Mindanao, a Lumad organization based in Mindanao; Sr. Stella Matutina, 2015 recepient of Germany’s Weimar Award for Human Rights; Reverend Jurie Jaime; Sister Restita Miles; Save Our Schools Network spokesperson Ruis Valle; women’s rights activist Mary Ann Sapar of Gabriela; children’s rights advocate Kharlo Manano of Salinlahi Alliance; and people’s rights defenders Sheena Duazo, Hanimay Suazo, Ryan Lariba, Tony Salubre, Jimboy Maciano, Jaja Encosio, Pedro Arnado and Isidro Andao. They are collectively called the Haran 15.
The Philippine military and some government officials have accused these Indigenous Peoples rights defenders of preventing the Manobo peoples from returning to their homes in Kapalong and Talaingod towns even as these same Manobo peoples have continually expressed their fear of returning to their ancestral lands due to the presence of military and para-military forces. The Lumad have also lamented time and again the military’s forced closure of their indigenous schools resulting in the disruption of classes of hundreds of indigenous children.
The Philippine military and several lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to force the Lumad to return to their ancestral lands in 2015, resulting in a scuffle in front of the Haran compound that left several people slightly injured. The abuses against Indigenous Peoples prompted the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights of internally displaced people Chaloka Beyani to visit the refugees.
A case was filed against the 15 Indigenous Peoples rights defenders in 2015 but was dismissed by the courts for lack of evidence. The case, however, was appealed in 2016 by Philippine military-backed individuals and, as a result, the warrant of arrest was issued against the Indigenous Peoples rights defenders. It seems a shameless act of manipulation of the justice system by the Philippine military in order to silence Indigenous Peoples rights activists and defenders.
The IPMSDL decries the attempts by the Philippine military and several personalities in the government to continually harass and intimidate Indigenous Peoples rights defenders. The military has gone so far as to tag these defenders and their organizations as members or supporters of the communist New People’s Army (NPA). This red-baiting is an attempt by the Philippine military to delegitimize the assertion of Indigenous Peoples right to self determination, as well as to demonize advocates who continuously support these assertions.
The IPMSDL is also worried that this incident comes on the eve of the attempts between the new government and the National Democratic Front to forge a just and lasting peace through talks that will cover the root causes of internal conflicts that have led to enforced evacuation of Indigenous Peoples of their ancestral lands.
We must not allow fabricated charges against Indigenous Peoples rights defenders to fan the flames of conflict. The IPMSDL therefore calls on the Philippine government to:
1. Immediately rescind the warrant of arrest issued against the Haran 15;
2. Drop all trumped-up charges filed against the Haran 15;
3. Ensure the peaceful return of the Lumad in Haran to their ancestral lands;
4. Cease militarization of ancestral lands of the Lumad and other Indigenous Peoples.
Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator
Statement Condemning The Murder of Lesbia Yaneth Urquia of Honduras
The IPMSDL condemns in the strongest possible terms the murder of woman indigenous peoples and environmental rights activist Lesbia Yaneth Urquia in Honduras. Urquia’s body was found in a garbage dump the town of Marcala, 160 km west of Honduras’ capital Tegucigalpa on July 7, 2016.
Urquia joins the long list of activists who became victims of extrajudicial killings in Honduras. In March 3, armed men entered the home of Goldman Prize winner Berta Caceres and shot her to death. Less than two weeks later, her fellow activist Nelson Garcia was shot in the face by unidentified men while walking home. The three are all active members of the Honduras-based Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (Copinh). Copinh has been actively campaigning against the construction of one of the largest hydro-electric dams in Latin America, which will affect the ancestral lands of the Lencan peoples of Honduras. Urquia and the other two are members of the Lencan people.
Honduras is considered one of the deadliest countries for indigenous peoples and environmental rights activists in the world. It is common knowledge in Honduras that most, if not all, of these extrajudicial killings were done by State military agents in cooperation, sometimes at the prodding and funding of, large corporations determined to encroach on indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands.
We are saddened by the loss of a fellow indigenous peoples rights activist, and promise to continue her and other indigenous peoples rights activists’ legacy of militant struggle against anyone, may they be mammoth corporations or murderous State security agents, who threatens our ancestral lands and who choose to take away our right to self determination and our right to our lands.
We strongly urge the Honduran government to:
1. Immediately investigate and prosecute those responsible for the deaths of Urquia, Caceres, Garcia and other victims of extrajudicial killings;
2. Cease all harassment and killings of indigenous peoples rights activists;
3. Respect the right to self determination of the Lencan and other indigenous peoples.
We recommend to the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to:
1. Increase pressure on governments who continue to violate the rights of indigenous peoples to self determination;
2. Launch an investigation on multi-national companies and governments involved in violations of indigenous peoples rights.
Stop the Killings! End Militarization! Fight Back!
Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator
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Malaysia: Joint Statement by CSOs Condemning the Assassination of Bill Kayong
We, the undersigned Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are extremely shocked, angered and saddened by the untimely demise of our comrade and friend, Bill Kayong from a drive by assassination yesterday morning at the traffic light next to eMart, Senadin in Miri, Sarawak.
Lumad organizations, through their Mindanao-wide alliance Kalumaran, demand the quashing of the warrants of arrest against indigenous leaders and advocates helping the internally displaced communities due to the militarization of Philippine government troops.
The IPMSDL strongly condemns the extrajudicial killings of seven indigenous peoples from the Palaung and Shan peoples of Shan State in Myanmar.
The Palaung and Shan peoples are two of the several indigenous peoples fighting for their right to self determination in Myanmar. For decades the Palaung and Shan peoples have faced encroachment of their lands by the Myanmar government. Heavy militarization has led to increasing number of indigenous rights violations and extrajudicial killings. Many of the Palaung and Shan people were forced to leave their homes for fear of further violations by the Myanmar military. The Palaung and Shan peoples have been fighting for their right to self determination for several years now, with many of them joining the armed liberation movements.
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) condemns the continuing harassment and threat on the life of Ms. Gloria Ushigua. Ushigua is a member of the IPMSDL, coordinator of the indigenous women’s group Ashinwaka and a staunch defender of indigenous peoples and environmental rights in Ecuador for almost a decade.
Recent events have led us to conclude that the threat on her life is real, and is posed by Ecuadorian state forces in collaboration with the Ecuadorian judiciary and several big multinational and state-owned companies interested in exploiting oil deposits in the territories of the Sapara people, of which Ushigua is a member. In 2013, government-owned media outlets started a smear campaign against Ushigua. In 2014 she was charged by the Ecuadorian court with terrorism, public obstruction and sabotage in relation to a peaceful assembly that Ushigua led.
In 2015 three policemen broke into Ushigua’s home in the city of Puyo,using teargas to immobilize Ushigua and her family members, beating her and torturing her using taser guns. Her property and home and office were also destroyed during the “raid.”
On 2 May 2016 her sister-in-law, Anacleta Dahua Cuji, was believed to have been raped and then killed while working on her farm by four men suspected of being Ecuadorian state agents. Her niece Casiela Grefa, on the other hand, was physically restrained by four men on 26 May 2016. They interrogated her regarding the whereabouts and activities of Ushigua. On 31 May 2016, in an act clearly meant to intimidate Ushigua, five unknown men camped outside her house throughout the night.
These acts by the Ecuadorian state agents and judiciary are clearly in violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Indigenous peoples all over the world have the right to self determination and the freedom to choose how to use their lands for the benefit of their people. No indigenous person should be abused, harassed, tortured or killed simply for protecting their territories.
These brazen acts of harassment by state agents against Ushigua remind us of other indigenous leaders like Xavier Akien of the Philippines, Jannie Lasimbang of Malaysia and countless other indigenous peoples’ rights advocates who risk their lives to fight for their rights as well as their children’s right to a better future. This also reminds us that in the modern-day world that we live in, rights defenders and advocates are faced with rising state militarism.
We call on the Ecuadorian Government to heed the following calls:
1.Immediately cease harassment and threats to the life of Ms. Gloria Ushigua and her family;
2.Investigate and prosecute those responsible for harassment of Ushigua and her family which has caused the death of her sister-in-law Anacleta Dahua Cuji;
3.Cease the implementation of so-called development projects that are detrimental to the life and culture of the Sapara and other indigenous peoples in Ecuador;
4.Respect indigenous peoples’ right to self determination as enshrined in the UNDRIP, of which Ecuador is a signatory.
We call on the Inter-American Human Rights Council and the United Nations to:
1.Investigate and ascertain the culpability of Ecuadorian state agents in harassing Ushigua and other indigenous peoples’ and environmental activists;
2.Immediately determine the liability of large multi-national and State-owned companies in violating the rights of the Sapara peoples and other indigenous peoples in Ecuador.
We urge everyone to remain vigilant against all forms of attack on the right of indigenous peoples to self determination. We call on all advocates and activists to stand firm, to not be cowed, and to fight back where necessary and needed.
Stop the killings! End militarization! Fight Back!
Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator
*photos courtesy of gettyimages.com and amazonwatch.org
IPMSDL Solidarity Statement to the Higaonon Peoples of the Philippines
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) expresses its solidarity with the Higaonon people’s plight against militarization of their community. We also condemn the acts of State security forces in the Philippines that have forced the Higaonon peoples to move out of their homes and ancestral lands for fear of their lives.
This is not the first time the Higaonons have had to flee their homes in Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental province. The Philippine military also harassed the Higaonons of Lagonglong on the months of May, July and October 2015. The Higaonons were also forced to evacuate their homes and lands during those times for fear of further harassment and intimidation by state security forces.
The Higaonons of Lagonglong were once more forced to flee their homes on June 5, 2016 when members of the Philippine Army camped within their communities, forcibly entered their homes even when the homeowners denied them permission, and continuously asked them to turn over their arms despite the Higaonons’ denial of having any in their homes. State security forces have been pressing the Higaonons to accept the government’s so-called “peace and development” program even when the Higaonon’s have repeatedly refused to have anything to do with the government’s state security plan. The military also did not respect the verbal agreement made between the group’s leaders and the Philippine Army wherein state security forces had to ask permission from the Higaonons before entering their territory.
These acts by the Philippine military are in clear violation of the indigenous peoples rights to self-determination and development. We join the Higaonon peoples’ call on the Philippine government and its security forces to:
1.Immediately pull out their forces encamped in the Higaonon lands in Brgy. Banglay, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental, Philippines;
2.Cease further militarization, entering without consent, and putting up of detachments in Lumad communities;
3.Pull out all military troops stationed or encamped in indigenous lands;
4.Stop the recruitment of indigenous peoples in paramilitary groups;
5.Facilitate the return of thousands of Lumad evacuees to their ancestral domains without fear of reprisal;
6.Investigate cases of violations of indigenous peoples rights by state security forces;
7.Prosecute those responsible for violations of indigenous people’s rights.
We also urge the Philippine government to support the Higaonons in their evacuation camps until they are safely back in their homes. We encourage all indigenous peoples and human rights advocates to support the call of the Higaonons to return to their homes without fear of militarization.###
End Militarization! Fight Back!
Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator
*photos courtesy of Panalipdan Youth NMR
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IPMSDL Statement on the Assumption of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) welcomes the pro-indigenous peoples rights pronouncements of Mr. Rodrigo Duterte as he assumes office as president of the Republic of the Philippines this June 30, 2016.
All over the world, indigenous peoples and their right to self determination are under attack by neo-liberal globalization. Large multi-national and state-owned corporations have repeatedly violated indigenous peoples’ rights to freely determine the utilization of their resources within their ancestral lands. Government security agents continue to harass and murder indigenous peoples rights defenders who valiantly fight against the violation of their rights to land and ancestral domain. Indigenous peoples right to development is undermined by development aggression and the self-serving agenda of bureaucrats in government.
The Philippines is no exception. Between July 2010 and September 2015, 82 indigenous peoples and environmental rights defenders have been murdered by government security forces and their para-military forces. Thousands of students were forced to stop schooling due to enforced closure of schools for indigenous peoples by the military, and thousands more have been forced to evacuate their ancestral lands due to militarization and red-baiting.
The IPMSDL welcomes Mr. Duterte’s pronouncements of support for the struggle of indigenous peoples and their right to self determination. We look forward to Mr Duterte’s fulfilling his promises of supporting the development of indigenous peoples and the protection of ancestral lands from destructive mining, logging and power companies.
In line with our commitment to further the cause of indigenous peoples, we call on the Duterte administration to:
1.End all forms of militarization of indigenous peoples communities;
2.Stop extrajudicial killings, vilification, red-baiting and harassment of indigenous peoples and environmental rights defenders;
3.Respect indigenous peoples’ right to self determination;
4.Provide basic social services for indigenous peoples, especially the women and children indigenous peoples;
5.Prosecute all government officials involved in fraudulent contracts that undermine the right to self determination of indigenous peoples, especially in the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Claims and Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles.
However, we know that change is not instantaneous. We do see several urgent issues that we hope Mr. Duterte can address within the first 100 days of his presidency. We urge Mr. Duterte to:
1.Re-organize the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to really serve the interests of indigenous peoples in the country;
2.Review and, if necessary, recall and cancel all contracts given to large-scale mining and energy corporations that are in violation of the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples;
3.Immediately pull out all government security and military forces encamped in indigenous peoples communities and prohibit them from entering indigenous peoples communities without permission from the community members themselves;
4.Allow all internally displaced indigenous peoples to return to their homes without fear of reprisal and harassment;
5.Dismantle the Alamara, Bagani, Magahat and other para-military forces under the Philippine Armed Forces that continue to harass and kill indigenous peoples rights defenders;
6.Re-establish indigenous peoples schools and other development and socio-economic projects that were forcibly closed under the previous administration.
We sincerely hope that under Mr Duterte, indigenous peoples will be free to exercise their right to self determination. Finally, we hope that, indeed, for indigenous peoples and other exploited people of the Philippines, change is coming.
Stop the Killings! End Militarization Now! Fight Back!
Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator