Appeal for Support for Indigenous Peoples Affected by the Earthquake in Nepal

NEPAL: Urgent Appeal for Support for Indigenous Peoples Affected by the Earthquake

28 April 2015

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday has caused more than 5,000 deaths and more than 10,000 people injured, as per the country’s Emergency Operation Centre on Tuesday.  The death toll is rising exponentially by the day as the government rescue efforts are reaching slowly to the areas hardest hit by the earthquake.

The United Nations estimates that as many as eight million people have had their lives disrupted by the earthquake, adding that more than 1.4 million people need food assistance, including 750,000 who live near the quake’s epicentre in poor quality housing. Tens of thousands are thought to have been left homeless.

Millions continue to wait for help while relief efforts have begun to reach the most affected areas – mostly indigenous populated – sluggishly where the earthquake has flattened many villages entirely. Food and medical supplies are running low while risks loom large for health epidemic as a result of lack of clean drinking water and sanitation in temporary open shelters.

Many of those who lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods are indigenous peoples. It is with this that Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in close coordination with its members and partners in Nepal is issuing this urgent appeal for support for the affected indigenous peoples in Nepal.

AIPP expresses its concern to the adoption of one door policy by the Government of Nepal which directs all the funds to Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund since it may restrict the outreach of the relief assistance to the affected Indigenous Groups in the country.

The Indigenous Peoples Campaign for the Earthquake Victims was recently launched by the members and partners in Nepal for relief and rehabilitation support for affected indigenous communities. This campaign is coordinated by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) in collaboration with various indigenous peoples organizations in Nepal.

The Lawyers Association for the Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) is also launching a similar campaign to support affected indigenous communities they are working with.

 

For cash contributions:

  • To support the Indigenous Peoples Campaign for the Earthquake Victims

Bank Account Name: Nagendra /Kushum/Naresh/Gyanendra

Account Number: 00210062171019

Bank Name and Branch Address: Civil Bank Limited

Swift Code: CIVLNPKA

For material support, we seek the following:

  • Food supplies (rice, canned goods preferably sardines or tuna, biscuits, sugar,
    salt, spices, cooking oil, boiled eggs, dried fish)
  • Bottled drinking water and water purifiers
  • Gas for generators, Fuel for vehicles
  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping mats
  • New underwear and new/used clothes
  • Toiletries (soap)
  • Cooking pot
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Tents
  • Laundry soap
  • Medicines (Paracetamol, pain relievers, anti worm (mebendazole), antacid, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, Cotrimoxazole andcloxaxillin;  elastic bandages, gauze,  hydrogen peroxide and betadine)

Food supplies will also be used for food-for-work programmes in road clearing and in the repair and rehabilitation of communities and damaged livelihood.

 

Thank you very much and we look forward to your support not only in this trying times that our indigenous brothers and sisters in Nepal are experiencing but also in our continuing struggle for the recognition, respect and protection of indigenous peoples rights and welfare in the region.

Sincerely,

Ms. Joan Carling

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Brief note on the 25 April 2015 earthquake in Nepal and its effect on Indigenous Population

Information sourced out from various sources, Ministry of Home Affairs, daily situation reports of un.org.np, newspaper, websites, etc.

Out of 75 districts, 30 districts in Nepal have been affected with the earthquake on 25 April 2015.  The hard hit districts are Gorkha (epicenter of the earthquake), Lamjung (initially reported as the epicenter), Dhadhing, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Ramechhap.  All of these districts are populated by various indigenous groups.

There has been no verified information received so far on the actual number of casualties and the situation in Lamjung despite of it being the epicenter of the earthquake. Lamjung has a high population of Gurungs.

Two villages of Gorkha, Barpark and Larpark have been totally flattened out.  While the initiatives for Barpark seem to have started, nothing has been possible for Larpark since the relief helicopters could not land.  The pictures shared in tweets show totally flattened out entire village and the badly damaged hills. Larpark is notably a Gurung village.  Baburam Bhattarai, former PM of Nepal has pointed out for the need of small helicopters to operate in this area to that of large ones currently deployed by the Indian Army.

Very less is known about Rasuwa and Lamjung.  The helicopter survey shows all washed out village and completely ruined Langtang National park where the number of trekkers are either stranded or not have survived.  Exact number of casualties is not verified and known. This district is home to Tamang, Gurungs and Sherpa indigenous community.

As of 4 May afternoon, the official information on the death as twitted by the Earthquake-Nepal (twitter handle of Ministry of Home Affairs) is reported to be 7365 dead and 14366 injured.  Disaggregated data is unavailable since 28 April 2015.  Till then the available district wise data has ben as follows:

875 deaths and 279 injured in Sindhupalchowk.  Sindhupalchowk has population of Tamang, Majhi, Sherpa, Thami, Hyolmo, and Newars. In Dolakha, 808 deaths and 2400.  Around 300 yarshagumba pickers are reportedly missing in the upper Dolakha valley.  Dolakha has the population of Surel, Jirel, Thami groups.  Kathmandu has 808 deaths and 2400 injuries, while in Bhaktapur  there has been equal number of 232 deaths and injuries.

There has been no information on the death/injuries or the situation report on other districts.  The media and the citizens-led relief initiatives seem to be concentrating on Kathmandu and Gorkha.

The earthquake has destroyed the four important UNESCO cultural heritage sites of Nepal which was important historical record of the Indigenous population in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.  They used to hold significant role in the practice of cultural rituals too.

Nepal Government has announced the relief of NPR40,000/- per dead member to the family.

Dumalongdong Mindanaw: Unite, Act, Fight to Defeat Oplan Bayanihan’s Divide-and-rule against Lumads! Resist Plunder of Ancestral Domains!

Mangyan Day: Let us Unite for our Land, Livelihood and Rights!

The Mindanao Bakwit Solidarity Mission: An International journey in defense of the displaced Banwaon and Ata Manobo

The Mission took place on March 8-9, 2015 mainly in Brgy. Balit, San Luis and prior to this in Brgy Nuevo Trabajo, San Luis, Agusan del Sur. The other leg of the Mission was at Talaingod, Davao del Norte on March 11-12 covering 31 communities of Brgy. Palma Gil and Dagohoy. It gathered at least 200 delegates from local, national and international human rights who expressed solidarity to the displaced Banwaon and Ata Manobo.

The Balit Mission was jointly organized by the Northern Mindanao and CARAGA formations of KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, KALUMBAY, KASALO, Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE). The Talaingod Mission was led by Solidarity Action Group for Indigenous People and Peasants (SAGIPP), Save Our Schools Network, PASAKA A confederation of Lumad organizations in Southern Mindanao Region and International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL). The simultaneous mission is coordinated by the Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN)

(Bakwit stands for “evacuation”).

The Balit Mission (Agusan del Sur)

The Southern Mindanao Mission

IPMSDL Statement during the April Interactive Dialogue from the post 2015 Process, New York

“Interactive Dialogue with stakeholders from the Post-2015 process (Major Groups and other Stakeholders) and Financing for Development process (civil society and business sector) Thursday, 23 April 2015, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, Conference Room 1”

 

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I am Beverly Longid from the Indigenous People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation and of the Indigenous Peoples constituency of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE).[1] I come before you in this session to add the voices of 370 million Indigenous Peoples in the world.

We, Indigenous Peoples occupy barely a fourth of the earth’s surface. However, we serve as stewards to eighty percent (80%) of the world’s biodiversity. Today, more than ever, there is clear and present danger to our existence and the means to our living. Either we practice sustainability today or we all perish tomorrow. We either care for the Indigenous Peoples today or throw tomorrow’sworld into greater danger. This is our world, too.

Why then is there no clear reference to Indigenous Peoples in the text of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? We are saying, “Let’s leave no one behind”. However, we are leaving the Indigenous Peoples out of the said goals. The absence or non-reference to Indigenous Peoples excludes us from the achievement and monitoring of the SDGs.

More substantially, we are one with civil society and social movements in asserting that structural and systemic issues breed poverty, cause hunger, and foster inequality and injustice. Only by addressing these issues can we achieve genuinely sustainable and inclusive development. We demand people and planet before profits, socialized industry, agrarian reform, and respect for human rights. Initiatives that do not contribute to these demands are bound to fail.

Colonization and succeeding governments dispossessed us Indigenous Peoples. It appropriated more of our lands for dams, mines, logging and plantations; desecrated our culture and militarized our communities in the name of development and progress. Today, big corporations and banks exploit the greater majority of the world’s peoples and nations, the Indigenous Peoples included.

As a way forward, we reiterate our demand that the implementation and financing of SDGs, and its accompanying indicators should be consistent with human rights standards and international humanitarian laws. In our case, we assert the letter and spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that recognizes self-determination over our lands, our right to free prior informed consent, and prohibits any form of involuntary settlement.The World Conference of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) last September, which is a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, reiterated its commitment in achieving the ends of this Declaration.

Financing by international financial institutions often leads to human rights violations. These financial institutions and corporate bodies remain unaccountable as states continue to provide them support and protection. There is a dire lack of regulatory mechanisms for such financings to ensure accountability and development justice.

Mandatory transparency and accountability safeguards in compliance with human rights norms and standards putting people before profit should accompany private sector financing and public-private partnerships for sustainable development.

Indigenous concepts of ‘development’ are broader than financial frameworks. It includes collective decision-making, spiritual health, cultural values, and our role as ecosystem custodians.An overwhelming emphasis on finance as means of implementation is inappropriate for indigenous communities. There are myriad of indigenous survival activities (such as hunting, gathering, local agriculture) but are classified as non-economic without realizing its viability and sustainability.

We call on the Inter-Agency Expert Group on Indicators and concerned UN units for an effective and rightful engagement of Indigenous Peoples in the formulation of appropriate global indicators. These ensure the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ self-determined development, secures our rights over our land and territories, with advancement of our traditional wisdom and knowledge of sustainable management and development of lands and resources, and addresses our particular needs and circumstances on health, education and poverty alleviation.

The means of implementation should advance harmony with people and nature,and rather than a mechanism to reinforce private profits at the expense of nature and people’s survival.  Heed the voices of Indigenous Peoples.  Let us consider those recommendations, for our people, for our world, for our tomorrow.

Thank you.

[1] The IPMSDL is a global organization of Indigenous Peoples organizations from the grassrootswww.ipmsdl.wordpress.com.

IPMSDL Solidarity Message to the three Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Days

15 April 2015

Solidarity Message

The Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) extends its warmest greetings of solidarity to the Indigenous Peoples (IP) and their advocates in the Philippines as they gather for three events on April 16 to 25: in Occidental Mindoro for the Mangyan Day; in Davao City for Dumalongdong Mindanaw; and in the five provinces of the Cordillera for the Cordillera Day.

We are one with you in celebrating your victories and achievements, in paying tribute to our heroes and in forging stronger unity for the defense of land and resources, and for genuine self-determination and freedom.

The Mangyan communities of Mindoro — Hanunoo, Alangan, Gubatnon, Iraya, Buhid, Bangon, and Tadyawan – with a rich cultural heritage including the “Surat Mangyan” recognized by the United Nations as part of the “Memories of the World” is presently in danger of being buried by large foreign mining companies.

In Mindanao, the Lumads are under intensified attack by environmental plunder, exploitation of energy resources, militarization, and human rights violations.

In the Cordilleras, Indigenous Peoples confront similar issues. Lands and resources are plundered through large and destructive mining, capitalist energy projects, the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and imperialist control in agriculture.

In subservience to imperialist dictates, the Philippine government has long allowed the entry and operations of foreign large corporations. This has caused the forced displacement of indigenous communities, irreparable damage to the environment, and a string of grave human rights violations including massacres, extrajudicial killings, and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

You are not alone in your struggles. Indigenous Peoples also confront these issues in Asia and other parts of the world. Hence, we are one in your struggle and fully support the building of grassroots solidarity in your activities.

The IPMSDL, enjoins all Indigenous Peoples’ communities to heighten the struggle to protect our ancestral lands, life and culture; and advocates and international supporters to strengthen their solidarity in this struggle. Let us persevere in building our organizations and enhance our capacity to arouse, organize and mobilize. Let us expand our organizations and linkages to other platforms with similar objectives. Let us build higher unity to resist the ravages of imperialism and local reaction. Together, we emerge victorious in our struggles. Mabuhay!

Stop large scale mining explorations and applications!
Stop militarization of Indigenous Peoples communities!
Defend our land and national patrimony!
Assert our right to self-determination and national sovereignty!
Long live International solidarity!

Beverly L. Longid
IPMSDL Coordinator

Online petition: Stop political vilification and harassment of human rights and,indigenous peoples’ rights defenders in Ifugao, Cordillera, Philippines

Dear Friends,

We are appealing for your support to raise concern and denounce the heightened incidents of political vilification, surveillance and harassment against members and leaders of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), local government or barangay officials, local organizations and indigenous people’s rights advocates in Ifugao province, Cordillera, Philippines. We encourage you to read and sign the online petition through the link below, and circulate or forward to your friends and network.

https://www.change.org/p/rep-guillermo-romarate-jr-chair-house-of-representatives-committee-on-human-rights-stop-political-vilification-and-harassment-of-human-rights-and-indigenous-peoples-rights-defenders-in-ifugao-cordillera-philippines

Thank you!

ON SELF-DETERMINATION & LIBERATION

(For the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis, Ridgewood Residence Hotel, Baguio City, Philippines, November 5-8, 2010)

Joanna K. Cariño

Cordillera People’s Alliance

It is an honor and privilege to be able to address this International Conference on Indigenous Peoples, Alternatives and Solutions to the Climate Crisis. I will speak specifically on the theme of self-determination and liberation as we seek to address the global crises. I propose to do so from the concrete experience of the militant mass movement in this region and my organization, the Cordillera People’s Alliance, and relate this to some theorizing on these themes.

Background

The significant events, which sparked off the militant mass movement in this region in defense of indigenous peoples’ rights, were the Kalinga and Bontok people’s struggles against the World Bank funded Chico mega-dams, followed soon after by Tinggian opposition to the huge Cellophil logging and paper-pulp concession in Abra.  Chico and Cellophil were so-called priority “development projects” of the US-Marcos dictatorship throughout the dark years of martial law during the 70’s and 80’s.

These indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, long considered as among the most neglected and powerless sectors of Philippine society were able to stop development aggression against fearsome odds, by asserting their collective human rights to ancestral land and self-determination.  Their steadfast and uncompromising defense of their life, land, livelihood and resources earned the respect and support not only of the other indigenous peoples in the region, but also other progressive forces both here in the Philippines and abroad.  When they finally resorted to armed resistance after peaceful methods to seek redress of grievances had proved futile in the face of unbridled militarization, many were convinced that this was but a logical step for these warrior societies in the defense of their collective human rights.

The Chico and Cellophil struggles gave a deeper dimension to human rights, going beyond the narrow definition of individual civil and political rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the collective human rights of indigenous peoples.  The Chico and Cellophil struggles were waged in uncompromising defense of ancestral land and the assertion of the right to self –determination, to freely determine our continued existence as distinct peoples, and our economic, political and socio-cultural development, at a pace, which we ourselves define.

Chico and Cellophil led to an increased self- awareness among the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera and paved the way for the formation of a Cordillera-wide indigenous peoples mass movement, as it marked the shift from spontaneous localized reaction to more conscious and concerted unified action.  As the different Igorot tribes and sectors were increasingly exposed to each other in mass meetings, inter-tribal activities and peacepact (bodong) conferences, there was the opportunity for dialogue and mutual sharing and learning.  From here, the different groups realized that beyond their diversity, they shared a common history of national oppression; a common geography and territory – the Cordillera mountain range; a common persistence of their indigenous lifeways in the face of various threats, albeit in varying degrees; common problems and common enemies.

Chico and Cellophil brought to the fore the fact that the present-day problems of tribal peoples and indigenous communities are much bigger and more complicated than any faced in earlier historical periods.  More concretely, Chico and Cellophil showed the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera that their problems cannot be taken in isolation from the wider Philippine realities, and the incursions of imperialist globalization.

The indigenist romanticized view of tribal society as a static autonomous entity which should be preserved in its pure form shattered, as Igorots united with as broad an alliance as possible for the defense of indigenous peoples rights alongside the wider defense of human rights.  Although the Chico resistance at the start was the spontaneous tribal response to outside threat, it soon positioned itself firmly within the mainstream of the national democratic struggle in the Philippines.

Towards Defining the Substance and Features of Self-Determination

We organized the Cordillera Peoples Alliance for the Defense of the Ancestral Domain and for Self-Determination in 1984.  At that time, the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations was still in its infancy and the international process was just starting, unlike today when we already have the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Thus we had to stump our brains Towards Defining the Substance and Features of Self-Determination in the Cordillera.

After the Marcos dictatorship was toppled through a people power revolution in 1986, the CPA successfully lobbied the new government for the recognition of ancestral land rights and regional autonomy, which were included in the new Constitution.

The process defined in the Constitution towards setting up the Cordillera Autonomous Region is for Congress, with the help of a Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission, to draft an Organic Act to establish the autonomous region.  The Organic Act is to be submitted to the people for ratification in a plebiscite called for the purpose.

In 1990, RA 6766, the Organic Act to create the Cordillera Autonomous Region was submitted to the people in a plebiscite but was rejected by the voting population.  Again, in 1997, a new Organic Act, RA 8438 was the subject of a plebiscite, and again it was resoundingly rejected.

On both occasions, the militant mass movement campaigned for its rejection; notwithstanding that, it was the CPA that had lobbied for the inclusion of such a provision in the Constitution.  The CPA interpreted rejection to mean not necessarily a rejection of the concept of genuine regional autonomy as the form of self-determination in the Cordillera.  Rather, the rejection was of the collusion of central government and local reactionaries to coopt the earlier gains and derail the mass movement, the infighting and corruption of traditional politicians and opportunists who had jockeyed themselves into position in the new Cordillera bureaucracy, and the insincerity of government to substantially recognize indigenous peoples rights.

The militant mass movement has learned valuable lessons from the failed government experiment with regional autonomy. Genuine regional autonomy cannot merely be structural nor mechanical. For it to be truly meaningful for the indigenous peoples, it has to be predicated on a full and substantial recognition of indigenous peoples rights to ancestral land and self-determination. It cannot be merely granted from above; it has to be asserted by a conscientized and empowered people. It cannot be rushed, as it can only succeed when the people are fully knowledgeable and prepared for it.

Historical Context of the Right to Self-Determination  

Historically, the right to self-determination was originally applied to nations in creating their own independent states, and in asserting national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This was during the period of the development of modern capitalism in Europe alongside which the original nation-states were formed.  (Great Britain, France, Spain, etc.)

Unlike in Western Europe, where the development was towards integrated nation-states, in Eastern Europe where capitalist development was uneven, multi-national states were formed, states consisting of several nationalities.  Thus, minority nationalities were formed side by side with a dominant nationality in the multi-national states (eg. Austria-Hungary, Poland, Russia).   There existed inequality and national oppression between the dominant nationality and the minority nationalities.

Thus the issue of the right to self-determination was a major concern in the formation of the USSR. One of the major achievements of the USSR before its dis-integration was the unification of the various nationalities with the guarantee of the complete equality of rights for all nations, full recognition of the right of nations to self-determination, and regional autonomy for national groupings occupying their own territory within a multi-national state.

Expansionism and colonization then, and present-day neo-colonialism have stunted the natural course of development of many nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, for whom the autonomous development towards the capitalist nation-state has been effectively closed.  Instead, there is the continuing underdevelopment in the so-called “developing” countries, with monopoly capitalism at the root of this phenomenon.  The   oppression and exploitation brought about by direct colonization then and imperialist globalization now have resulted in the rise of national liberation movements in the colonies and neo-colonies, with the demand for separation or independence as the form of self-determination.

Within the neo-colonies, and even in pockets inside the developed countries, there is the persistence of pre-capitalist modes of production and social formations among indigenous peoples who have refused to give up traditional lifestyles.  Indigenous peoples are to be found all over the world and many are self-proclaimed “nations,” while living within a defined national territory of a nation-state.  Such tenacious persistence of traditional lifestyles even in the face of neo-colonialism and imperialist globalization are by themselves  manifestations of self-determination.

From the above, and notwithstanding the changing context, we may observe that self-determination has been a response to repression, to inequality, to discrimination.  Self-determination is thus an assertion of a people’s collective human rights and identity against oppression.

United Nations Framework and Its Limitations

When the United Nations (UN) was established after WWII, it appropriated the term nation (or nation-state) to refer to its member-states, notwithstanding that many of these states are not homogenous entities but are actually multi-national states.

Article 1 of the UN Charter says that among its three purposes is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on the respect for the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples…”

Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) also expressly state that “All peoples have the right to self-determination.  By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

Take note that the application of the right of self-determination as used by the UN has been expanded from its original usage to nations to now include peoples.

The formulation appears to be an unequivocal statement of human rights.  This is not as simple as it seems, however, as the controversial question for a long time was how to define the category people/s, and which groups would qualify under this category.

With the approval by the UN General Assembly of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, indigenous peoples have won international recognition as peoples.  But what about other oppressed nationalities and national minorities, or even ethnic minorities, who are not necessarily indigenous peoples but who are presently minority peoples encompassed within wider State systems?

The UN is composed of States, which are dominated by local ruling classes who speak as though they represent equally all of the people in their country’s population, when in truth, there are significant sections of the population who are oppressed and discriminated against.  Furthermore, the majority of these States are subservient to the US superpower.  This makes it difficult for oppressed sections of the national population to qualify, in the view of States, as separate peoples.  Thus the modern States which compose the United Nations are threatened by the very concept of self-determination.  In truth, it was the indigenous lobby which brought UNDRIP to fruition, often against the position of their own State systems.

There is no explicit UNDRIP provision that refers to an indigenous people’s right to create an independent state.  Indeed, Article 46 clearly states: Nothing in this Declaration may be…construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States. 

The right of a people to freely determine its political status, in theory, includes the right to form an independent state that stands on equal footing with other nation-states, or otherwise, to define its mode of associating with an existing state wherein it enjoys the same rights as the other constituent peoples of that state.

Thus, the right to self-determination directly translates into the right of peoples to govern themselves without external impositions.  Historically, this right covers a wide range of options:

  • seceding outright from a state of national oppression and creating their own independent state;
  • joining a federation of states as one constituent and co-equal state;
  • constituting an autonomous political unit wherein it exercises a degree of self-rule within a broader nation-state; and
  • asserting specific rights as defined by the basic laws and through specific processes of the nation-state.

While there may be a whole range of forms of self-determination, the key issue is the empowerment of the people, the level of organization they are able to build, the struggles that they can successfully wage, including the support that they can generate from the wider population in the country, and internationally, based on the legitimacy of their struggle against oppressive structures.

The international struggle for the recognition of indigenous peoples rights has won a quantum victory with the passage of UNDRIP. Realities on the ground, however, are very far from these international standards, as will be attested to by the testimonies in this conference.   Just because there is a beautiful law does not necessarily translate to its meaningful implementation. Form is not necessarily the essence.

Presently, despite the great diversity of indigenous peoples worldwide, the truth is that there is also a great commonality in the problems that we face, among them:

  • Intensified plunder of land and resources by multi-national corporations
  • Massive displacement due to large-scale destructive projects of States and imperialist corporations (mines, dams, logging, SEZ, monocrop plantations, etc) and concomitant militarization
  • Grave human rights violations under the US-led War on Terror & corresponding “Security” Acts
  • Government neglect and deprivation of basic social services; Impoverishment
  • Racism, chauvinism and discrimination
  • National oppression and the non-recognition of our identity as indigenous peoples

It is about time to build a higher solidarity among indigenous peoples worldwide based on a deeper appreciation that imperialism and neo-liberal globalization is at the root of our common problems.  It is about time to build our strength and militantly assert our collective human rights to ancestral domain and self-determination, beyond the parameters circumscribed by the UN.  Let us unite as an international indigenous peoples’ movement for self-determination and liberation as we strive to build a better world beyond the neo-liberal capitalist model that has caused not only the climate crisis but the global economic crises as well.

A Briefing Paper On Indigenous Peoples Self-Determined Sustainable Development

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URGENT APPEAL: INVESTIGATE MASS GRAVE OF SUSPECTED VICTIMS OF ENFORCED ‘DISAPPEARANCE’ LOCATED IN MANIPUR SCHOOL OCCUPIED BY INDIAN SECURITY FORCES

At least eight human skulls and skeletal remains were found on 25 December 2014(Christmas Day) along with other human artifacts fromthe compound of the former Tombisana High School in the heart of Imphal Town in Manipur in India’s North East, opposite the former Manipur LegislativeAssembly complex, bylabourers engaged in excavation work for a new market complex to come up in the location of the former school, which is only about 150 – 200 meters west of the centrally located Kangla Fort. The school was formerly occupied for almost three decades by the Central Reserve Police Force, the Border Security Forces and Manipur Police Commandoes, all extensively engaged in counter-insurgency operations against insurgent organizations fighting for Manipur’s political self-determination,such as the Manipur Peoples Liberation Front, Revolutionary Peoples Front, United National Liberation Front, etc.

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