Join the Global Indigenous Peoples’ Days of Action on Energy on November 9 and 10, 2013!
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: ASSERTING SELF DETERMINED ENERGY DEVELOPMENT FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Indigenous peoples join various organizations, groups and peoples worldwide in denouncing dirty and harmful, destructive and capitalist energy on the Global Month of Action on Energy from October 11 to November 11, 2013.
Approximately 370 million indigenous peoples occupy 20 percent of the earth’s territory, in areas of high biological diversity and rich natural resources, and where the world’s remaining forests are found. We indigenous peoples share an intrinsic relationship with our lands and territories which define our spiritual, cultural, social and economic well-being. We nurture, defend and preserve our lands, territories and natural resources for use and enjoyment by our future generations. But while we are known as the historic stewards of the environment, we remain marginalized, and our lands and territories are continuously treated as commodities for profit without due recognition and respect of our inherent right to self-determination, self-determined sustainable development, and overall collective rights as indigenous peoples to our traditional lands, territories and resources.
Energy projects and extractive industries, often State-backed and corporate-controlled, are the top violators of indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and resources as these also directly affect our culture and identity. Militarization of our territories or the deployments of State military troops in project areas worsens this situation, resulting in various types of human rights violations. All these essentially bear ethnocidal effects on indigenous peoples in different parts of the world.
We are also the least contributor to climate change but are among the most vulnerable on the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Our sustainable ways of living, traditional knowledge and practices, and cultural values are viable solutions to the climate crisis and alternative to the profit-driven development paradigm as proven through time.
We resist destructive and capitalist energy projects
Energy systems are among the so-called development projects being imposed in our lands and territories – large dams and hydro-power projects, coal mining, oil extraction, natural gas, geothermal energy, nuclear power, among others. These bear grave impacts on us and the natural environment with which we depend on for our economic and socio-cultural survival. Thus, we are currently protesting the ongoing operations and proposed energy projects, like the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, Mapithel Dam in Manipur, India; series of large dams along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, and numerous large dams in Malaysia; dams and geothermal energy in the Philippines and other countries; tar sands in Canada; oil projects in Colombia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Myanmar, Indonesia; and many more.
A recent trend in the energy industry is an upsurge in so-called renewable energy projects that are implemented in our territories in the form of hydro-power, run-of-river, geothermal, solar, and wind energy projects. However, big corporations, governments and other independent power producers are the ones that own, control and manage these projects that serve primarily for their interests. They outrightly manipulate our Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and plunder our natural resources. An outstanding example of this is Chevron, a notorious US-owned energy company that operates globally, in its geothermal energy projects in the Cordillera, Philippines. Thus, for us indigenous peoples, renewable energy may not necessarily be clean, green, and beneficial to the people. It can lead to the plunder of our natural resources and land grabbing. Any “renewable energy” that is geared towards profit and result in the plunder of our territories and resources is unacceptable to us.
Energy is vital in fulfilling basic human needs and rights. However, the prevailing capitalist-driven and unsustainable energy system does not address indigenous peoples’ development, needs and rights. It poses threats to our existence. It also exacerbates the worsening climate crisis, being the largest and fastest growing contributor of Greenhouse Gas Emissions – 35% of all human GHG emissions come from the energy sector.
For energy and development to be sustainable, viable and appropriate to indigenous peoples, it underpins the recognition and respect of our collective rights to our lands, territories, resources, and right of self determination, including Free, Prior and Informed Consent. It must empower and free us from poverty, injustice, marginalization, oppression and exploitation. It produces only what the people need, not for capitalist profit and greed. It must be socially equitable and just, in harmony with nature and Mother Earth, and responsible for the interest and welfare not only of the present but also of future generations. The following are some of our alternative proposals:
- Community-owned and managed, clean and environment-friendly, and sustainable renewable energy systems, directly addressing basic needs of the people for food production and processing, lighting, cooking, communication, livelihood, light industry, and other basic energy needs. An example of this is micro-hydro power which is planned, designed, managed and controlled by an indigenous community through their community organization.
- Power system and energy infrastructure appropriate to the needs, culture, and condition of indigenous communities such as decentralized energy system
- Promote a sustainable and self determined energy development for indigenous peoples and an alternative energy framework geared towards addressing peoples’ needs and not for profit
- Energy systems that ensure equitable access for all people
- Powering systems of production, distribution and consumption that are compatible with the limits of the planet and are aimed at meeting the needs of peoples rather than the relentless pursuit of profit
Join us in the Global IP Days of Action on Energy on November 9 and 10, 2013
On these significant dates, let us commemorate the legacy and martyrdom of indigenous peoples who bravely fought for our lands and territories like Ken Saro Wiwa, an indigenous activist, environmentalist and human rights defender of the Ogoni people of Ogoniland in Nigeria. Let us collectively demand the following:
- Respect indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, and to land, territories and resources
- Uphold indigenous peoples’ self-determined and sustainable development
- Respect and ensure genuine implementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent
- Stop the militarization of indigenous territories where energy projects and other extractive industries are found
- Prosecute energy corporations and States responsible for violations of human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights
- Stop the operations of destructive energy systems
- Cancel new energy projects in indigenous lands and territories
- Provide just compensation to affected indigenous communities
- Reorient the capitalist energy system. Stop the commodification, privatization and deregulation of energy.
- Repeal State laws and policies on the energy sector that are inconsistent with indigenous peoples rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and other international human rights standards
We urge you to do any one or more of the following:
- Circulate statements to the public and the press/media
- Send letters of concern to policy-makers
- Post photos/qoutes/statements/messages via Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs, websites, other social media
- Organize press interviews/conferences
- Hold protest actions
- Hold public fora, community discussions, other educational activities
- Establish campaign and advocacy networks and alliances on indigenous peoples issues on energy
For a coordinated action, please inform us through the address below of any activity you intend to do during the Global IP Days of Action on Energy.
The Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) is a global movement of grassroots-based indigenous peoples organizations, communities and advocates to defend our inherent rights to land, life, self-determination, for liberation from State oppression and human rights violations, and for social justice.