PRESS RELEASE | Police releases “terrorist list” memo targeting IP activists

International Indigenous Peoples (IP) group expresses its utmost condemnation in the recently discovered top-secret Philippine National Police (PNP) intelligence memo ordering surveillance on several IP leaders from the Cordillera, including International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) Global Coordinator Beverly Longid.

Recently this September, human rights group Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) obtained a copy of the said confidential memo dated May 28, 2018 and signed by PNP Intelligence Division OIC Alexander Rondal listing 21 names – several are IP leaders, rights advocates and activists in the Cordillera region. The memo addressed to all PNP Chiefs and Regional Intelligence Units orders them to supply a “Summary of Information” on alleged New People’s Army (NPA) ICRC (Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee) leaders and members.

“This is part of the systematic attacks of the Duterte government against progressive organizations critical of the government policies, land defenders, or IP communities against resource plunder. It is an institutional directive of the state that confirms our long belief of surveillance operations to monitor the movements of those they consider as “enemies of the state.” It is a desperate move to supplement the hollow and bereft of evidence DOJ Prescription case against activists. The memo further puts at threat the lives of those under surveillance by tagging them as communist armed rebels due for surveillance,” Longid said.

The confidential memo has 21 names including United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development Goals Joan Carling, former Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) Chair Atty. Jose Molintas, Co-Chair of Sandugo Joanna Cariño, current CPA Chair Windel Bolinget, Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Cordillera Jeannete Ribaya-Cawiding, and former Secretary General of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance-Karapatan Sherwin De Vera.

In February 2018, a DOJ Petition for Proscription to declare NPA and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as terrorist groups also includes the above names in the police memo.

A motion filed in Manila RTC 19 last August 31 by Atty. Pablo Sanidad II, Longid’s legal counsel, states that the case “without any basis and with pure malicious intent” is only used as an “arbitrary and malicious targeting measure to weaken the IP movement and an unacceptable attack to those who speak up to defend Human Rights.” Cases like this is considered as “travesty to the exercise of the fundamental rights and freedom,” the motion stated.

The trend reflects a global scale of IP attacks notably in developing countries like Latin America, Africa and Asia. A recent UN report underlines two reasons: “lack of respect for indigenous peoples’ collective land rights” and “failure to provide indigenous communities with secure land tenure” favoring big corporations’ mega infrastructure plans, extractive, plantation, logging and eco-tourism development projects located in IP ancestral lands.

“The IP struggles for land rights and self-determination further expose the state and its armed forces’ servitude to investors and companies by using anti-terrorism and anti-insurgency campaigns to target IP activists, silence them and endanger their lives,” Longid added.

A call for “broader and stronger unity against all forms of attacks against those who cry just demands and criticizes oppressive government policies” is echoed by the International IPMSDL.

According to Longid, “the international community must strongly denounce big businesses using state forces and policies to its favor at the extent of our community leaders’ lives. IPMSDL believe that criminalizing dissent do not silent the demands for justice of the IP movement but only fortify their struggle for the achievement of rights, lands, and justice.”

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Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, info@ipmsdl.org

NEWS | Human Rights activist seeks removal from terror list

Krixia Subingsubing, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Taking a cue from the two UN members and two militant leaders cleared from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proscription petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) and 600 individuals as terrorists, an indigenous peoples’ rights leader also asked a Manila court that she be declared as a nonparty to the petition.

On Friday, human rights activist Beverly Longid asked Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar to clear her from the terrorist list as she was neither an officer nor a member of the CPP-NPA.

She argued that the petition, which was filed in February, not only failed to prove her association with the Maoist rebel group, but also did not apply to her as an individual as a proscription petition can only apply to organizations, associations or group of persons as per Section 17 of the Human Security Act.

Same grounds

Her “unfounded, malicious and irresponsible” inclusion in the list, she said, posed serious threats to her life.

These were the same grounds used by fellow defendants UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, former UN member Jose Melencio Molintas, former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and peace talks consultant Rafael Baylosis.

They were among the over 600 individuals—some of whom were activists, leaders of mass organizations and former Catholic priests—named by the DOJ as alleged leaders and members of the group behind Asia’s longest-running insurgency.

The proscription petition stemmed from President Duterte’s promise to clamp down on the rebel groups following the collapse of peace negotiations between the government and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

‘Virtual gov’t hit list’

Human rights advocates and militants alike have assailed the petition as a “virtual government hit list” meant to harass and threaten progressives and critics of the Duterte administration.

Some of the 600 names included double entries, dubious aliases and generic names—to which Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had admitted not having vetted.

In August, Malagar’s 14-page resolution cleared Corpuz, Molintas, Baylosis and Ocampo on nearly the same legal bases now being used by Longid.

Longid, a member of several local and international human rights groups, said in an interview that the proscription petition was nothing more than a harassment suit meant to target the “increased resistance” against the abuses committed against indigenous peoples.#

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Story posted in Inquirer.net on August 3, 2018.

 

PRESS RELEASE | Indigenous Groups Descend on Manila Court to Protest Terror-List

The groups gathered to press for the dismissal of a proscription list that labels indigenous leaders as “terrorist.”

International Indigenous Peoples (IP) group and several IP organizations from the Philippines marshaled at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) on August 31 to rally for the dismissal of the Department of Justice (DOJ) proscription list that labels indigenous leaders as “terrorists.” The gathered groups also filed a motion to clear the names of indigenous leaders.

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-determination (IPMSDL) joined the protest action along with Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu), Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples Rights (TFIP), and BAI Indigenous Women’s Network. The protest was mobilized in time for the submission of a motion and court hearing for the terrorist-tagging case, which includes IPMSDL’s Global Coordinator Beverly Longid. The proscription petition filed by the DOJ, which seeks to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) a terror group, also includes 649 names of alleged CPP-NPA leaders and members. It was filed in the Manila RTC on February 21 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 374 and Human Security Act (HSA) 2007.

Last August, the Manila RTC cleared the names of Satur Ocampo, Rafael Baylosis, Jose Melencio Molintas, and United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. In the same month, the DOJ admitted in a congress budget hearing that it did not verify the 649 names, many of which are aliases and code names, as supplied by the intelligence of Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.

“There’s an irresponsibility in the part of DOJ for just listing names of activists and tagging them as terrorists without even submitting an iota of evidence to prove that the names in the Petition for Proscription is involved with CPP and NPA,” said Attorney Pablo Sanidad II, Longid’s legal counsel.

The motion to delist the names states that the HSA 2007 may only be applied to organizations and not individuals, and that the DOJ has not given any summon or any substantial evidence. The delistment of the earlier four names were also on the same grounds as ruled by the court.

“The national and international track record of Longid and all the IP leaders included as an advocate for the recognition and promotion of IP rights and welfare clearly shows that they are not terrorist or anything that the government says they are,” Sanidad II added. “And we pray that the court stands for its duty to protect the rights of rights defenders.”

Longid said, “The state harassment and attacks on activists, human rights defenders, and IP leaders every time they step up their struggle for social change, for the protection of their lands and rights, and against destructive extractive projects and plunder of their ancestral territories shows this systematic targeting of those who rightfully criticize the government policies or corporate businesses. And given the track that President Duterte is treading, this will continue and intensify.”

Since Duterte’s presidency began in 2016, reports of political attacks, civil rights and human rights violations and abuses against IP have been documented. As of February 2018, 178 IP have been illegally arrested based on the monitoring of Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas. Cases of military, paramilitary, and police vilification of IP organizations in Cordillera, fabricated criminal charges against Lumad groups’ council members in Mindanao, forced surrenders of Dumagat IP in Quezon Province after being tortured and threatened, and many others killed and assassinated, have been filed on Commission of Human Rights and state offices.

“The increasing records of gross human rights violations under the state’s counterinsurgency Oplan Kapayapaan and extension of Martial Law in Mindanao is consistent with the global crisis involving legal maneuverings and government policies that favors big businesses and victimize IP communities,” Longid said. The criminalization of IP and land defenders opposing the transformation of ancestral lands into mono-crop plantations, mining and energy projects, and eco-tourism destination smears their reputation and makes them vulnerable targets, as in similar cases in Guatemala, Brazil, India, Columbia, and Africa.

Recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced that it will open more “areas of mineral reservations” to attract mining companies and pump government income. “It’s not surprising that these areas are also ancestral lands and villages of IP, and also the areas heavily concentrated with military forces and wanton records of human rights violations,” Longid added.

“But it is during these dangerous times when people’s unity and solidarity grow stronger. The people’s movement against the human rights violations of state forces and officials, and against the plunder and dispossession of ancestral lands expands and intensifies to defeat the oppressors,” she said. Several local councils and organizations have submitted petitions to delist the names in the proscription.

A “letter of concern on the increasing harassment and intimidation of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders” was endorsed by 16 international organizations and 205 national organizations from 38 other countries from different global regions. An online petition was signed by more than 11,200 individuals from 113 countries.#

Article originally published in The Diplomat .
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Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, info@ipmsdl.org

#IDWIP2018 Photo Contributions

In celebrating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2018, IPMSDL welcomed materials and original photos depicting the life, struggles, and victories of Indigenous communities in relation to plunder, militarization, and rights violations.

The month-long campaign highlighted the life and continuing struggle of Indigenous Peoples in defense of land and for self-determination. To amplify the unified demands and voice of Indigenous Peoples communities against resource exploitation, militarization, and IP rights violations happening in different communites around the world, contributions echoed the following themes and calls:

STRUGGLE FOR SELF-DETERMINATION AND LIBERATION!

DOWN WITH IMPERIALISM! STOP KILLING IP RIGHTS ACTIVISTS!

ACTIVISM IS NOT TERRORISM! RESIST CORPORATE PLUNDER AND GREED!

DEFEND ANCESTRAL LAND! FIGHT IMPERIALIST WAR OF AGGRESSION!

END MILITARIZATION OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES!

Here are the photo contributions IPMSDL received from different Indigenous Peoples communities, individuals, organizations, advocates, IP rights defenders and their networks.

Submerged Dreams of the Bunong People
Kbalromeas Youth

The Indigenous community of Bunong is one of the hardly affected groups by the Lower Sesan II Hydroelectric Project in Kbal Romeas village, Cambodia. The multi-million dollar energy project, owned by corporations from China, Cambodia, and Vietnam, has disrupted the lives and livelihoods of the community, destroyed the cultural fabrics of the Indigenous communities, and uprooted families from their lands. Those who decided to stay in their lands submerged under water receive nothing but State neglect and continuous violation of their rights. Many children had to stop their education while five people already died because of health problems. Despite this, they never give up the fight! The struggle for their right to land, territory, and way of life continues!

“Submerged Dreams of the Bunong People” from Kbalromeas Youth.
“Submerged Dreams of the Bunong People” from Kbalromeas Youth.

Fighting Through Tears & Respect Lumad Rights
Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization

Lumad woman and children from Misamis Oriental in Mindanao, Philippines evacuated with their families due to intensified militarization in their community. The construction of a military detachment, leading to the displacement of 38 Higaonon families, aims to facilitate road and bridge construction for the eco-tourism project of the Provincial Government. Said project wants to transform the sacred hot springs of the Lumad into a resorts and recreational area.The recently-constructed military detachment not only endangers the community, but also violates their right to their ancestral land, as no Free, Prior and Informed Consent was given to the military.

“Fighting Through Tears” from Muy Reyes of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization.
“Respect Lumad Rights” from Muy Reyes of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization.

Indigenous Dumagat and Mangyan
Sandra Marie Llarenas of Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo (TABAK)/ Genuine Alliance of the People for the Indigenous Peoples

An indigenous Dumagat contemplates while on a community meeting in Rodriguez, Rizal, Philippines, and Mangyan child smiles with some of the delegates of Mangayan Day in Oriental Mindoro, Philippines.

The Dumagat village in Rizal, home to more than a hundred families is in danger of being destroyed, due to the pending New Centennial Water Source Project. The project aims to convert several barangays in Rizal and Quezon province into dams to provide water supply in urban center Metro Manila.

Mindoro’s seven Mangyan tribes – Hanunuo, Alangan, Gubatnon, Iraya, Buhid, Bangon and Tadyawan – yearly gather for the Mangyan Day. This year, the occasion highlights the issues of the geothermal powerplants and the government’s National Greening Project in their ancestral territories.

An Indigenous Dumagat from Sandra Marie Llarenas of Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo (TABAK).
A Mangyan child from Sandra Marie Llarenas of Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo (TABAK).

A Wildflower
Chuckie Calsado

A wildflower might be most beautiful in a city, where its beauty is unparallelled because of its exoticism. But does this lens matter in appraising this beauty, if said flower was forcibly removed from its home through acts of aggression, tyranny and militarism. Our Lumad brothers and sisters have a right to self-determination, they are not flowers to be plucked and subdued for the oppressors to display.

An indigenous Lumad in a parade against Martial Law. Photo by Chuckie Calsado.

We thank all the contributors and we look forward in collaborating again with everyone in advancing our campaigns for the welfare of Indigenous Peoples around the world!

The Karen Struggle for Self-Determination in Kawthoolei

This article is a case study conducted and written by KESAN (Karen Environmental Social Action Network) contributed for #IDWIP2018.

Burma is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and while ethnic Burmans represent a majority in the central Irrawaddy river-plain, non-Burman ethnic groups inhabit about half of the country making up over one-third of the population, forming a relative majority in the great horseshoe of mountains which surround the central lowlands. Situated between modern-day Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand, the country’s ethno-linguistic diversity reflects the regions rich histories of migration. According to research carried out by linguists and anthropologists, the different ethnic sub-groups in Burma can are related to “four main families: the Tibeto-Burmese, Mon-Khmer, Shan (or Tai) and Karen.”[1]

Although the geographic origins of Karen are disputed, historians believe that the Karen people, with a number of sub-groups or tribes, migrated from Tibet and the upper reaches of Yangtze River in China nearly three thousand years ago. Today, the Karen represent one of the largest ethnic nationalities in Burma, their number ranging from 3 to 7 million[2]. Regardless of population size or migratory origins, non-Burman ethnic nationalities in modern day Burma share a common struggle against subjugation and oppression by the Burman dominated military-state complex.

Geographically, ethnic Karen-related people populate a wide area of modern day Burma, stretching from the southern Irrawaddy delta across Rangoon, Bago and Tanawthari (Tanintharyi) regions and the Karen, Karenni, Mon and Shan States, branching across the country’s borders into the mountain ranges of western Thailand. Karen ethnic-related groups include the “S’gaw Karen, Pwo Karen, Bwe Karen, Paku Karen, Mobwa Karen, Geba Karen and Karen Phyu”.[3] Although Karen-related people have distinct political identities and speak mutually unintelligible languages, “they are connected through customs, traditions, and a long history of shared communities, and thus a sense of unity in diversity.”[4] Commonly, inside Burma, the Karen ethno-nationalist group refers to the S’gaw and Pwo speaking Karens inhabiting areas of the Irrawaddy, Rangoon, Bago and Tanawthari regions and the Karen, Karenni and Mon states.

“Seven decades of civil war between Karen and Burmese forces has had a significant impact on Mutraw District’s communities and environment… the root causes of that conflict remain sorely unaddressed”

In February 1947, the Karen National Union (KNU) was founded as an umbrella group of four Karen social, political, and religious organizations with the aim of advancing the Karen national cause, with broad support across Karen-populated territories. This came shortly after Burma’s independence leader Aung San signed a deal with the British government that pledged to form an independent Burma “as soon as possible”[5], also succeeding in concluding an agreement for a unified Burma at the Panglong Conference on 12 February. However, this fragile amity was thrown into disarray following the tragic assassination of Aung San on July 19, 1947, and the rapid exit of the British. When Burma became independent on the 4th of January 1948, led by the country’s first independent government, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, many critical issues remained unresolved. While the independence government awarded the voluntary right to secession to the Shan and Karenni they refused to agree to Karen demands for equality and autonomy, promised by Aung San. On February 11, 1948, four hundred thousand Karen people staged silent demonstrations nationwide, with demands for a state, equality and freedom.[6]

In 1949, the Karen revolution began after failure of the Union Government and the Karen National Union to reach an agreement over the terms of a Karen State, known by the Karen people as Kawthoolei. Until now the Karen people continue the struggle for self-determination. This struggle, which continues until this day, represents the longest civil-war in Myanmar, and, by many accounts, the longest running civil war in the world.

In the seven decades since Burma wrested independence from British imperial rule, armed conflict, political upheaval and civil war has pushed the Karen struggle for self-determination into shrinking and fragmented spaces of resistance in the country’s southeast. In the last three decades alone, the Burma Army’s military campaigns and occupation have forced hundreds of thousands of Karen people from their ancestral territories, many fleeing for their lives across the country’s borders into Thailand.

State Violence and Local Resilience in Mutraw

Karen IDP communities demonstrate their opposition the large-dams on the Salween River, March 2017. Photo from KESAN.

In the early 1990s, the Burma Army began its most coordinated and widespread military campaigns in the east and southeast of the country. In Mutraw (Hpapun), the mountainous district of northeastern Karen State, troops of the Burma Army systematically and indiscriminately targeted civilian areas violently displacing eighty percent of the district’s original 107,000 inhabitants[7] with many fleeing to refugee camps along the Thai border, while others chose to live in hiding in the forests. Although the Burma Army scaled back the intensity of its offensives in Mutraw towards the end of 2008, more than 27,000 villagers remained displaced from their land and homes in 2010, where they remained “at constant risk of death or injury from periodic attacks, patrols and remote shelling.”[8]

Although the Karen people of Mutraw have not seen lasting-peace for over 60 years, Karen forces, namely the Karen National Liberation Army, have been “able to maintain these ‘northern areas’ as the most autonomous region under Karen control,”[9] a region that “has never been brought under centralized state rule.”[10] The protection of Mutraw is important not just for the political struggle of the Karen, but also for the biocultural survival of the indigenous Karen people who depend upon the conservation of the natural environment through which their customary land systems and traditional culture function.

Despite the ongoing presence of the Burma Army in Mutraw, the 2012 bilateral ceasefire and 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), signed between elements of the Karen National Liberation Army’s political, the Karen National Union and the Union Government, raised local people’s hopes of the prospect of return to their ancestral homelands and village territories on a permanent basis, and began meeting to discuss how they would begin rebuilding their communities. However, villagers continued to avoid any contact with the Burma Army and their network of military roads, which pose a serious threat to local people. For example, on 22 February 2015, Saw Maw Kay, a local community leader, was shot to death by Burma Army soldiers near the road in Ler Mu Plaw, northeastern Mutraw.

“…local communities have taken up the struggle to transform their indigenous territories into a space of peace, self-determination, environmental integrity and cultural survival. It is from this struggle that the Karen-led Salween Peace Park has emerged.”

Seven decades of civil war between Karen and Burmese forces has had a significant impact on Mutraw District’s communities and environment, and although ceasefires have led to a significant reduction in widespread armed conflict, the root causes of that conflict remain sorely unaddressed. In many areas of the country, such as Mutraw, ceasefires have acted as a double-edged sword, and while many communities have found opportunity to rebuild their livelihoods the pauses in fighting have also enabled the Burma Army to create more permanent military infrastructure, opening new spaces for the predatory and voracious exploitation of land and natural resources. The impacts of these exploitative forces have been overwhelmingly negative for local communities and for the natural environment, leading to new and renewed cycles of conflict and dispossession.

Mutraw District is rich in natural resources, host to valuable minerals, timber, and other forest products, alongside prized wildlife, making it a prime target for exploitation. Improperly regulated mining and logging have driven rapid deforestation, biodiversity loss, and the poisoning of water sources, causing significant damage to both the wildlife and communities living there.[11] Sources indicate that these activities are being both pursued and facilitated by the Burma Army, Karen armed groups, and Border Guard Forces (BGF) to finance themselves, alongside operations by Burmese and foreign companies and various wealthy individuals.[12] Large and small-scale infrastructure projects, including roads, and bridges, have also led to land confiscation and an escalation of conflict between Karen armed groups, the Burma Army, and various BGFs resulting in the displacement of thousands of Karen people.[13]

Large-scale hydropower dams proposed and under-construction on the Salween river and its tributaries represent one of the greatest threats to biocultural conservation in Mutraw. The Salween River, known as the Kho Lo Klo and Ta Maw Shu in S’gaw and Pwo Karen respectively, flows roughly north to south from the Himalayan Plateau through southwestern China – where it is known as the Nujiang. The Salween crosses into Burma’s Shan State coursing south through Karenni, Karen and Mon states before forming an estuary into the Andaman Sea. The vast majority of the proposed Salween dams are concentrated upstream from Mutraw and threaten a widespread, largely unacknowledged, human rights and environmental disaster for communities living in Burma’s Salween River basin. The Hatgyi project is proposed under a Joint Venture Agreement between the Union Government, Sinohydro/PowerChina and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand International, is located at Mutraw’s southern border with Hpa-an District (Hlaingbwe Township). This large-scale dam is designed to export about 90% of the electricity generated onto Thailand’s national grid, while the costs and risks of the project are pushed onto local communities, huge numbers of whom have been forcibly displaced by armed conflict and now face the spectre of permanent displacement from their ancestral territories, set to disappear beneath the dam’s reservoir.

The Salween Peace Park

While a nexus of actors including the Burma Army, international donors, financial institutions and domestic conglomerates seek to transform Mutraw into a space of extraction, local communities have taken up the struggle to transform their indigenous territories into a space of peace, self-determination, environmental integrity and cultural survival. It is from this struggle that the Karen-led Salween Peace Park has emerged.

Karen communities have proven that they have the tools, expertise and motivation to protect biocultural diversity in Mutraw District, and envision a place where they can continue their cultural practices in peace. Karen leaders and civil society believe that the establishment of a community-led Salween Peace Park would help communities achieve this vision.

The vision of the Salween Peace Park is to establish and indigenous run sanctuary for endangered species, rooted in the customary territories and traditional socio-ecological management practices of the Karen people of Mutraw. The de facto management and governance systems in Mutraw have been co-produced by the KNU and Indigenous communities. For example, the Kawthoolei Land Policy recognises and provides registration procedures for a range of broadly-defined land types, including Kaw or customary lands, community forests, reserved forests and wildlife sanctuaries.

The Kaw is the best illustration of the Karen relationship to nature in contemporary Mutraw District. A significant proportion of Mutraw District’s area comprises of Kaws, which vary in size and degree of preservation. The term Kaw can be viewed simultaneously as a management and governance system, a social framework, and a physical territory. A community’s Kaw territories are its ancestral and spiritual domain, comprising the lands, waters, and natural resources in said territory. Depending on size, some Kaws containing multiple villages, Kaw territories may comprise of a number of different land and forest use types serving various purposes. These can include lowland agricultural plots, Ku land (upland rotational agricultural plots), paddy fields, orchards, community forests, sacred areas, household plots, gardens, public lands (roads, schools, clinics, meeting halls etc.), pasture, and waters (lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.).[14]

Article 3.3 of the Kawthoolei Land Policy recognises and protects the rights of local communities to practice the Kaw system, and to manage and govern their land and natural resources within the Kaw according to the village community or group of communities’ communal stewardship and tenure arrangements.

Mutraw District, Kawthoolei. Photo from KESAN.

The practice of conservation through the establishment of community forest areas has also been officially recognised by the KNU, under the Kawthoolei Forest Policy. This objective of this policy is to officially recognise local village communities’ control and management of forest resources; to establish a process for local communities to manage, use, and benefit from forest resources and to conserve their tradition, culture, and improve their livelihoods; and, for local community to have a better understanding and recognize the importance as well as benefits of forests through direct participation in management and protection of forest resources.

These initiatives are grassroots efforts, led by the communities themselves. The KNU and civil society organisations, such as Karen Environmental Social and Environmental Network, have increasingly supported the efforts of local communities to conserve and strengthen their indigenous territories. As discussed, local communities, the KNU, and civil society organisations have been laying out the vision for the Salween Peace Park for many years. Yet, it was not until 2015, that local communities, civil society, and local authorities were able to come together to move the vision towards. Now, after 69 years of civil war, the Salween Peace Park has become a symbol of hope for the cultural survival of the Karen people and the political realisation of their struggle for self-determination. There are three main pillars or objectives which form the foundation of the Salween Peace Park: 1) Peace and self-determination, 2) Environmental integrity, and 3) Cultural survival.

“Land grabbing and extractive industries, including hydropower dams, are major drivers of armed conflict in Burma. More than 8,500 people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, land and property in Karen State as a direct result of armed conflict”

Indigenous Karen peoples’ governance and management rights over their ancestral territories date back many generations. However, before the 2012 ceasefire agreement, people were not concerned about officially demarcating boundaries or defining their land and natural resource management systems. Yet, following the 2012 ceasefire agreement, instances of land grabbing and natural resources exploitation accelerated, becoming more widespread. Rather than supporting the rights of local communities, Union Government legal frameworks related to land and natural resources, including the 2008 constitution, have led to increases in land confiscations, particularly in Union Government controlled and mixed administration areas. These pressures have led local communities, such as those in Mutraw, to define and demarcate their ancestral territories and land use systems in order to establish bottom-up protection mechanisms from predatory government and private business interests, and land and natural resource related legal frameworks.

Three Peace Park public consultations were held between 2016 and 2018, where the community laid out their visions “towards achieving ‘inclusive conservation’ and cultural preservation, while building peace through recognition of indigenous Karen people’s rights to self-determination over their ancestral territories in Mutraw District of Kawthoolei”[15] This community-led approach has led to the establishment of the Salween Peace Park Committee, who play a leading role in the drafting of the Salween Peace Park Charter, due to be ratified through popular vote. After the Salween Peace Park Charter has been ratified, the Peace Park Committee will guide its implementation according to the three main pillars; peace and self-determination, environmental integrity and cultural survival.

The Ravages of Conflict

Although these initiatives have all thus far had a notable impact on the communities involved, a significant barrier remains to promoting their expansion, and in some cases has even led to the cancellation of further proposed community-based initiatives. The key barrier is continued conflict and increased militarisation.

Land grabbing and extractive industries, including hydropower dams, are major drivers of armed conflict in Burma. More than 8,500 people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, land and property in Karen State as a direct result of armed conflict since the KNU signed the NCA in late 2015.

Map of Recent Conflict in Mutraw District and IDP Situation.

In September 2016, armed conflict broke out along the eastern access road leading to the Hatgyi dam site in Lu Pleh Township, Hpa-an District, as the Burma Army-led Borer Guard Force moved to assert military control over the dam site area. The fighting, which lasted for over two weeks, forced over 5,000 Karen villagers to flee their homes. Until today, these people have been unable to safely return to their villages, and the majority are now living as Internally Displaced Peoples in temporary shelters without access to humanitarian aid.

In March 2018, the Burma Army began the largest and most coordinated deployment of troops into Karen State’s Mutraw district since 2008.[16] More than 1,500 Burma Army troops crossed into KNU-controlled areas of Mutraw’s Luthaw township, breaching the terms of the 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and provoking multiple clashes with the Karen National Liberation Army’s 5th Brigade. Troops serving under the Burma Army’s Southern Command indiscriminately targeted civilians, forcing more than 2,400 villagers to flee their land and homes. The majority of those displaced by the Burma Army’s military operations had only recently returned to rebuild their villages, farms, and livelihoods following decades of widespread armed conflict.

Villagers demonstrate for peace in Ler Mu Plaw, Mutraw District, Kawthoolei. Photo by Brennan O’Connor.

In the evening of April 5, 2018, Saw O Moo was ambushed and shot by the Burmese Army after coordinating and arranging humanitarian assistance for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ler Mu Plaw area of Mutraw District, Karen State. Saw O Moo was an indigenous Karen land rights defender, indigenous knowledge holder, and peace advocate who was also actively involved the Salween Peace Park, a local community initiative that strives for genuine peace, environmental conservation and cultural preservation.

Although KNLA authorities have confirmed Saw O Moo’s death, several attempts to retrieve the body have been unsuccessful, as Burma Army soldiers are shooting at anyone who approaches the area. As a result, Saw O Moo’s family has not been able to perform their Indigenous funeral rites.

The KNU and Burma Army are both signatories to the 2015 NCA, which prohibits the expansion of military infrastructure and troop reinforcements in ceasefire areas. However, beginning on March 4, 2018, at least eight Burma Army battalions[17] entered Luthaw, without prior agreement[18] from the KNLA, and begun constructing a military operations road to connect their military bases at Ler Mu Plaw and Kay Pu. If the road is built, Indigenous Karen villagers may be permanently displaced from their homes and ancestral village territories.

Building Peace and Self-determination from the Bottom-up

Indigenous Karen youth present their research in the Salween Peace Park. Photo from KESAN.

The Karen struggle for self-determination is inseparable from their historical struggle to defend their indigenous territory. The rights to Karen indigenous territories was passed on from the ancestors, according governance rights to the next generation. Managing these territorial rights appropriately is vital for the survival of Karen culture, the conservation of biodiversity, and the building of peace and self-determination from the bottom-up.

Seeking pathways to peace have become increasingly complex. The invasion and occupation of ethnic territories by the Burma Army has been followed by the expansion of Union Government administrative power which has come hand-in-hand with large-scale extractive industries, including large hydropower dams, agribusiness, and their associated infrastructure.

“Managing these territorial rights appropriately is vital for the survival of Karen culture, the conservation of biodiversity, and the building of peace and self-determination from the bottom-up”

The Salween Peace Park is becoming an indelible part of the Karen peoples historical struggle against oppression by the Burma Army and the Union Government of Myanmar. The Peace Park also defines the terms of peace in accordance with the vision of the people of Mutraw, who have stood together in defiance to demand something different for the future of their people.  Karen communities have for years built and governed wildlife protection areas, community forests, food security programmes, seed banks, and traditional medicine forests and gardens with the aim of strengthening livelihoods and conservation. These communities have also pioneered projects seeking to identify the biodiversity present in the region, and strategize on how best to protect it. The Salween Peace Park draws together this knowledge and expertise while sharpening the Karen vision for self-determination. Despite the recent conflict and the Burma Army’s refusal to withdraw its military camps from Mutraw, the indigenous Karen people of Mutraw have used the Salween Peace Park to define their own democratic space and raise awareness about their struggle for a different way forward, based on building peace and trust from the bottom up.

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KESAN (Karen Environmental Social Action Network) is a community-based, non-governmental, non-profit organization that works to improve livelihood security and to gain respect for indigenous people’s knowledge and rights in Karen State of Burma, where the violence and inequities of more than 60 years of civil war have created one of the most impoverished regions in the world.

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Footnotes:

[1] Smith, Martin (1994) p.18

[2] Joliffe, Kim (2016) p.2

[3] Karen Information Center (KIC), “Karen Affairs Committee confirms names of seven official sub-tribes”, 5 May 2017. Accessible at: https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/karen-state/item/3004-karen-affairs-committee-confirms-names-of-seven-official-sub-tribes.html

[4] Joliffe, Kim (2016) p.2

[5] See Aung San-Attlee Agreement, January 27, 1947, available at: https://burmastar1010.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/44172419-aungsanatlee-agreement.pdf. See also Government of Burma Act (1935).

[6] Tharckabaw, David (2015) Karen People’s Struggle for Equality and Freedom

[7] Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP) figure presented at “Symposium on the Salween Dams” June 27, 2003; estimated figure provided by KNU’s Mutraw District Administration; as cited in Karen Rivers Watch (KRW) (2004) Damming at Gunpoint, p. 1, p. 42

[8] Feeding figures provided by the Karen Office of Relief and Development (KORD) to KHRG. See KHRG report, Self-protection under strain (2010: 21)

[9] Joliffe, Kim (2016) “Ceasefire, Governance and Development” The Asia Foundation p. 34

[10] Joliffe, Kim (2016) p. 9

[11] Burma Environmental Working Group (2009) p.55; Karen Human Rights Group (2015) p.8

[12] Karen Human Rights Group (2015) p.8

[13] Karen Rivers Watch (2014) p.1; Karen Human Rights Group (2015) p.8

[14] KESAN (2017) The Salween Peace Park: A Scoping Study

[15] Karen News “International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – Karen Community Groups Want Respect, Management Rights and Governance Over Ancestral Territories”, 12 August 2018, Accessible at: http://karennews.org/2018/08/international-day-of-the-worlds-indigenous-peoples-karen-community-groups-want-respect-management-rights-and-governance-over-ancestral-territories/

[16] Karen Peace Support Network (2018) The Nightmare Returns: Karen hopes for peace and stability dashed by Burma Army’s actions, accessible at: http://kesan.asia/index.php/resources/download/13-reports/122-the-nightmare-return-karen-hopes-for-peace-and-stability-dashed-by-burma-army-s-actions

[17] A report from Free Burma Rangers (FBR) names the eight battalions as Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 20, LIB 351, LIB 435, LIB 598, LIB 558, LIB 432, LIB 596, LIB 560. See FBR report, They Are Running Again, This Time With Babies, 15 March 2018, accessible at: http://www.freeburmarangers.org/2018/03/15/running-time-babies-1700-villagers-flee-burma-army-attacks-builds-roadsnorthern-karen-state/

[18] “Movement of armed troops in the areas controlled by the other is allowed only after obtaining prior agreement.” 2015 NCA, Article 8 (b)

Prayer of the Last Forest Guardians

Originally posted by WALHI Kalimantan Tengah on August 10, 2018.
Written by Ayu Kusuma.

Indigenous people have been living under the threat of losing the forests. However, just like a burning fire, the fighting spirit of these people never dies. The tradition on living up the traditional practices and rituals provides infinite source of strength and courage.

A Dayak Tomunt woman was filling the offerings inside anca during the ritual. Photo by Ramiasi Novita (Dayak Voices).

That Saturday afternoon, 7th of July, the village street at Kubung Village, Delang Sub-District, Lamandau Regency, Central Kalimantan Province, Indonesia, looked a little crowded than usual. Four elders wearing the traditional head-wrapped hat descended down from Rumah Betang (Dayak long house) while holding anca.

Anca is an offering place made from bamboo. It is divided into two parts, the pole and the container at the top. The bamboo used as anca have been specially chosen and cut down through a ritual on the day before. In that ritual led by Mantir Adat (traditional leader), they also cut bamboo for cooking lemang (glutinous rice) and nasi kuning (yellow rice).

Some groups of people followed Mantir Adat heading to different directions. Their destinations were Mencara River, Batu Batongkat Hill, village territory border, and Sandung (a place where bones of the ancestors were buried).

Even though there were four different locations for placing anca, Mencara River was the main location of the ritual. For on the bank of Mencara River, the first staked pole of Kubung Village was located. Despite covered in moss, the pole still stood firm. About 30 cm from the left side of the pole, anca bamboo was placed.

After anca was staked, the women filled anca’s basket-like container with offerings, such as grilled pig and chicken, grilled pig and chicken heads, lemang, and nasi kuning. The elders also staked a short bamboo which tip was burnt and emitting smoke on the ground below anca. A handful of white rice was spread before spiling tuak (traditional alcoholic drink) from a bamboo. After that, the people took turns to drink the remaining tuak.

The ritual process was carried out while the elders were enchanting prayers in Dayak Tomunt language. And the people would occasionally reply the prayers. This ritual was the climax of the entire traditional ritual named Babantan Laman held by Dayak Tomunt who live in Kubung Village. This Babantan Laman ritual was held for two days since Friday.

Babantan Laman is an annual traditional ritual to celebrate New Year by cleaning the village (laman) from any kind of negativities. Babantan Laman is also a form of gratitude towards Sangiang (The Deity), ancestors, and the mother earth for the good they have bestowed with. It also shows hope of grace, protection, security, and safety for the next year. It is however, not only meant for Kubung people alone, but for all people around the world. Prayers will be kept being enchanted during the entire ritual that requires the elders to fast from eating.

Any kinds of prayer asking for goodness and refusing badness are besought. Not to mention the one asking for unity of the people. Since Kubung community still live in a commune. They work together in taking their daily activities, and especially ritual practices. This harmony among the people does not only protect the people, but also the forest where they come from, grow, learn, and work.

Dayak Tomunt people in Kubung village have hereditarily been living by managing the products of forest resources. Many forms of activity are taken place in the forest, such as farming, honey, vegetables, traditional herbs/medicines and fruits gathering, rubber tapping, and of course ritual practices. The people’s dependency on the forest demands them to make sure that the forest will always be available. This eventually has designed the behaviors and traditions of the people in carrying out their lives according to the forest preservation practices.

The environmental-friendly way of living practiced by the people has caused the people not to act spoiled even though they live very close to the forest. Similar to other indigenous communities, they will only take what they need as much as they needed from the forest. It can be confirmed by looking at how beautiful the forest is without any significant disturbances. That is why the forest is also claimed as one of the last forests in Indonesia. Therefore, probably without anyone realizing, this indigenous community in Kubung Village has taken a huge role in maintaining a suitable life for all living creatures in this earth.

Although, being one of the last forests and a life support for the people does not make Kubung forest secured from the possibilities of being destructed. In the early 2015, a HTI (logging and industrial timber plantation) permit was given by the government of West Kalimantan Province on that indigenous peoples’ land. The area that was reached over 8000 hectares is administratively a part of West Kalimantan’s territory.

In mid-2015, the company was ready to begin working on that area. The entrance way to the operation location was already opened and heavy equipments were able to enter. Knowing there was a foreign activity in their managing area, the people immediately held a community meeting. Then, they collectively agreed to stop the company’s activity on their land. After successfully driving out the company’s workers from their land by coming together to the location and boldly asking the workers to leave, the people sealed the area.

But, the effort of these indigenous peoples from Kubung Village to ensure they can protect their land did not stop there. They also visited the company camp to meet the head of the operation. The people firmly stated that they reject any forms of activities on their land. Even though there was no one from the company who were willing to say they were responsible for the company’s activity on that land, up until now the company has never tried to start any activities on the indigenous peoples’ land in Kubung.

These steps taken by Dayak Tomunt peoples reflect people’s awareness and knowledge about their rights. These people realized they must defend the forest that supports their lives. They also understood very well that they must maintain the existence of protected and sustainable forest as a legacy to the next generations.

We cannot deny this key in building people’s awareness came from their knowledge on the importance of sustainable forest. And the traditional rituals that have been hereditarily carried out by the people also created unity among the people. The belief of the strength in the connection with Sangiang, ancestors, and the ancient warriors becomes the fundamental source of indigenous peoples’ power.

That fact is in accordance with what Mantir Adat of Dayak Tomunt, Tirbong, stating, “We get the answers of our prayers from the rituals. If we could not perform the rituals any longer, we would not only lose our traditions, but also our hopes.”

The challenges that Kubung community will face in the future, if not all indigenous peoples, are related to the government’s regulations, which have not yet showed support to the community’s activities in protecting the forest. Even so often, the regulations only provide benefits for the companies. It goes without saying that for indigenous peoples like the Kubung community, losing the forest means losing the life sources. Losing the life sources equals to death. Nothing will remain for the future of their children and grandchildren, not to mention the loss of their traditions rooted from the forest and their freedom.

It is probably not exaggerated to say that when we destroy a forest; we also destroy the whole community that depends on that forest. As the prayer chanted by the people in Kubung Village that afternoon, “We pray for our forest not to be disturbed, nor destroyed. For the forest is our mother.” A prayer that is full of hope and love for the sustainable earth.

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The Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia/ Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) – Central Kalimantan is a forum of non-government and community-based organisations in Indonesia. It stands for social transformation, peoples sovereignty, and sustainability of life and livelihoods. WALHI works to defend Indonesia’s natural world and local communities from injustice carried out in the name of economic development.

Our Rivers, Our Lives: The Ayta of Pampanga and Tarlac and their Struggle against Quarries and Destructive Dams

Originally posted by TFIP on MARCH 14, 2018
written by Angelica Campo and photos by Myra Dela Cruz

 

In line with the commemoration of International Day of Action for Rivers on 14 March 2018, the Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP) presents two emerging success stories of Ayta communities struggling to defend their rights in Pampanga and Tarlac.

Left with no choice

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” What Heraclitus said eons ago, holds true for Ilog Pasig in Sitio Pidpid, Barangay Sapang Uwak, Porac, Pampanga.

On 30 January 2018, the Magantsi and Magindi tribes of the Ayta indigenous peoples bravely put a stoppage on the operation of three companies namely Clarete Vibro Sand Processing Company, T.A.G. Mineral Resources Incorporated, and Powerzun Quarrying and Trading Incorporated (now known as SANDGLO). Ayta men and women have blocked the trucks that were taking away sand and stones from their ancestral domain. They eventually set up a barricade to ensure that no quarry personnel or equipment could get in and out of the premises while the operation is on hold.

The Ayta community was motivated by the deliberate disrespect of their collective rights as indigenous peoples and the growing number of water-related sickness among their children. They observed that due to massive excavation, the river got deeper, with less water flow, and is unsafe for them to drink. They have reported incidents of smelling diesel in the water they got from the existing springs. They believe that chemicals from the trucks and heavy equipment are being disposed indiscriminately on the surface and thus flow to the underground water systems.

“Honor and respect our right to ancestral land which is cited in the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) according to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) 8371 Series of 1997.”

The Ayta leaders explained that the environment is an integral part of their history, culture, and identity. They take pride in being able to share their lands and natural resources with others but the companies went beyond the areas designated for quarrying. The water systems were rerouted and as a result, they are now having trouble producing crops on their upland farms and the usual drinking water is contaminated.

Paved paradise

Just recently, members of the Abelling tribe operating the excavation equipment in the Balog-Balog multi-purpose dam site staged a protest concerning their lack of job contract. Despite working for Guangzhi Contractor for eight months now, they do not receive mandatory government benefits like SSS, Pag-ibig, Philhealth. The project supervisor also deducts a P150 kickback from their meager salary. They complain of not being able to secure their post as the Chinese contractor is free to randomly fire employees anytime. This has come to the attention of indigenous peoples’ support groups and the local media. However, when CLTV36, together with peoples’ organizations and advocates, tried to do visit and conduct interviews, they were refused entry to the dam site.

After failed negotiations with the Chinese engineers who were onsite, project engineer Eduardo Corsiga explained that they need a copy of the request letter approved by the provincial and municipal unit. He confirmed that everything, from FPIC process, human resource management, construction of the dam and relocation site for affected residents, disaster risk management, capacity-building and livelihood trainings, and several other processes are under the supervision of National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Discussions with affected non-IP community members revealed that the tenants who live and work in the supposed relocation site are being forced to leave without any relocation. There were problems with the actual payment of damages. The memorandum of agreement stated that the families would be given P300, 000 as reparation for the residential lot but none of them were ever paid in full at the time of the visit. There were also issues with how the farm lots are compensated. Most residents do not know that they are entitled to series of payment schemes depending on the size and classification of their lands, whether pastureland, irrigated, or upland farm. Some were even advised that they will only receive a fixed amount since they do not have land titles.

It was observed that the presence of the third mechanized brigade of the military had forced some IP community members to sign the documents granting NIA access to their ancestral domain. Despite the rejection by some Abelling families, they were persuaded to inhabit the houses that were admittedly unsafe, without water source, and have defective drainage system. After a week or so, they returned to their original dwellings.

The tribe members residing on the other side of the mountain fear that they would also be dislocated if the affected communities insist on living upland with them. There are no forests that they could go back to or share since a large portion of their ancestral land is already bulldozed. Together with tenant farmers, the Ayta of Tarlac are resisting the community displacement and the completion of the Balog-Balog mega dam project.

Even with the adoption of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and enactment of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA), indigenous peoples in the Philippines continuously experience historical discrimination, massive land grabbing, and food insecurity due to worsening climate change impact. IP communities are being constantly threatened with mining activities, energy projects, and construction of large infrastructures that do not directly benefit the people. This situation pushes the Ayta and other indigenous peoples to resist. Together, they stand with a call clear as their rivers: “These resources are ours. We should protect them.”

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The Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP) is a network of non-governmental organizations in the Philippines advancing the cause of indigenous peoples (IPs) rights. TFIP envisions a society that promotes and defends indigenous peoples’ rights and upholds their self-determined development.
 

On the 2018 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Desplácese hacia abajo para ver la traducción al español
Défilement vers le bas pour la traduction français

 

Uphold the Indigenous Peoples Right to Self-Determination!

We, the Indigenous Peoples (IP) of the world, claim this day as ours to celebrate the victories we have collectively fought for and to uphold our strong commitment in the struggle for self-determination and liberation. On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples this August 9, the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) salutes all Indigenous Peoples across the globe renewing our resolute commitment to the continuous advancement towards greater victories of our struggle for self-determination, and in defense of our lands, territories, and ways of life.

The economic global crisis spirals, deepens, and worsens as Imperialist domination and quest for superprofits continue. Forests and mountains face immeasurable rate of devastation, most of which are ancestral territories and homes of Indigenous communities that have become plagued with the heightened resource plunder. We are the protectors of our forests and biodiversity and yet we are being deprived of our right to determine our own fate. This has led to the aggravation of the global environmental situation causing massive poverty, hunger, genocidal violence, displacement, and conflict, not only for Indigenous Peoples but also for national minorities and oppressed peoples.

We celebrate this day in light of the several battles we championed against the two major perils we face – the intensifying entry and operations of transnational and multinational corporations (TNCs and MNCs), which plunder our ancestral land and displaces our people, and the ever-worsening human rights violations against IP rights defenders including the repression of our collective actions in defense of our lands and the right to self-determination. The heightened imperialist wars of aggression implemented by the State through an all-out militarization aims to suppress the resistance against massive resource plunder.

Despite these trying times, Indigenous Peoples remain relentless in the struggle for self-determination. The Kichwa People of the Amazon in Ecuador assert their right to self-determination by ousting several oil utilizations from their region and preserving their forest for the benefit of future generations. Amidst being one of the most dangerous places for land and environmental defenders, Indigenous communities with the mass movements of Brazil, Columbia, and in the rest of Latin America continue to expand and gain momentum in strengthening to protect IP rights. The Lumad communities in Mindanao, Philippines, despite constant harassment and intimidation from the state, are ever more determined to fight imperialist plunder and militarization. Indigenous rights defenders in Northeast India remain steadfast in campaigning against multi-million-dollar energy projects and extractive businesses. The Indigenous Peoples in the Mekong subregion are likewise resisting all forms of land-grabbing schemes by various TNCs and local oligarchs. History tells us that intensifying imperialist assaults rouse greater people’s resistance.

As we commemorate this year’s World IP Day, let us raise the struggle for self-determination in the name of total freedom from all forms of oppression and discrimination. Let us defeat the offensives of imperialism in plundering our lands and resources. Let us highlight the struggles of Indigenous Peoples against the genocidal attacks of TNCs and MNCs that continuously pose serious threats to the survival of future generations. Let us link arms in broad solidarity among and between international Indigenous communities, consolidate unity with other oppressed people of the world, and firmly resolve that we shall forward our struggle for liberation and self-determination until victory!

STRUGGLE FOR SELF-DETERMINATION AND LIBERATION! DOWN WITH IMPERIALISM!
STOP KILLING IP RIGHTS ACTIVISTS! ACTIVISM IS NOT TERRORISM!
RESIST CORPORATE PLUNDER AND GREED! DEFEND ANCESTRAL LAND!
FIGHT IMPERIALIST WAR OF AGGRESSION!
END MILITARIZATION OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES!

 

Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | info@ipmsdl.org

Traducción por DeepL

¡Por el Derecho de los Pueblos Indígenas a la Autodeterminación!

Nosotros, los Pueblos Indígenas del mundo, reivindicamos este día como nuestro para celebrar las victorias por las que hemos luchado colectivamente y para mantener nuestro firme compromiso en la lucha por la libre determinación y la liberación. Con motivo del Día Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas del Mundo este 9 de agosto, el Movimiento Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas por la Autodeterminación y la Liberación (IPMSDL, por sus siglas en inglés) saluda a todos los Pueblos Indígenas del mundo renovando nuestro compromiso resuelto con el avance continuo hacia mayores victorias en nuestra lucha por la autodeterminación y en defensa de nuestras tierras, territorios y formas de vida.

La crisis económica mundial se agudiza, profundiza y empeora a medida que continúa la dominación imperialista y la búsqueda de superganancias. Los bosques y las montañas se enfrentan a una tasa inconmensurable de devastación, la mayoría de los cuales son territorios ancestrales y hogares de comunidades indígenas que se han visto asolados por el creciente saqueo de recursos. Somos los protectores de nuestros bosques y de la biodiversidad y, sin embargo, se nos está privando del derecho a decidir nuestro propio destino. Esto ha conducido al agravamiento de la situación del medio ambiente mundial, causando pobreza masiva, hambre, violencia genocida, desplazamiento y conflicto, no sólo para los Pueblos Indígenas sino también para las minorías nacionales y los pueblos oprimidos.

Celebramos este día a la luz de las diversas batallas que defendimos contra los dos principales peligros a los que nos enfrentamos: la intensificación de la entrada y las operaciones de las empresas transnacionales y multinacionales, que saquean nuestras tierras ancestrales y desplazan a nuestro pueblo, y las violaciones cada vez más graves de los derechos humanos contra los defensores de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, incluida la represión de nuestras acciones colectivas en defensa de nuestras tierras y del derecho a la libre determinación. Las guerras de agresión imperialistas intensificadas implementadas por el Estado a través de una militarización total tienen como objetivo suprimir la resistencia contra el saqueo masivo de recursos.

A pesar de estos tiempos difíciles, los Pueblos Indígenas siguen siendo implacables en la lucha por la autodeterminación. El pueblo kichwa de la Amazonía en Ecuador reivindica su derecho a la autodeterminación al expulsar de su región varias utilizaciones de petróleo y preservar sus bosques para el beneficio de las generaciones futuras. En medio de ser uno de los lugares más peligrosos para los defensores de la tierra y el medio ambiente, las comunidades indígenas con los movimientos de masas de Brasil, Colombia y el resto de América Latina continúan expandiéndose y ganando impulso en el fortalecimiento para proteger los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas. Las comunidades Lumad en Mindanao, Filipinas, a pesar del constante hostigamiento e intimidación del Estado, están cada vez más decididas a luchar contra el saqueo y la militarización imperialista. Defensores de los derechos de los indígenas en el noreste de la India se mantienen firmes en sus campañas contra proyectos energéticos multimillonarios y empresas extractivas. Los Pueblos Indígenas de la subregión del Mekong también se resisten a toda forma de acaparamiento de tierras por parte de diversas ETN y oligarcas locales. La historia nos dice que la intensificación de los ataques imperialistas despierta una mayor resistencia popular.

Al conmemorar el Día Mundial de los Pueblos Indígenas de este año, planteemos la lucha por la libre determinación en nombre de la total liberación de todas las formas de opresión y discriminación. Derrotemos las ofensivas del imperialismo al saquear nuestras tierras y recursos. Destacamos las luchas de los Pueblos Indígenas contra los ataques genocidas de las STN y las EM que continuamente plantean serias amenazas para la supervivencia de las generaciones futuras. ¡Vinculemos las armas en amplia solidaridad entre las comunidades indígenas internacionales, consolidemos la unidad con otros pueblos oprimidos del mundo y resolvamos firmemente que avanzaremos nuestra lucha por la liberación y la autodeterminación hasta la victoria!

¡LUCHA POR LA AUTODETERMINACIÓN Y LA LIBERACIÓN! ABAJO EL IMPERIALISMO!
¡DEJEN DE MATAR A LOS ACTIVISTAS DE LOS DERECHOS DE LOS PUEBLOS INDÍGENAS!
¡EL ACTIVISMO NO ES TERRORISMO!

¡RESISTIR EL SAQUEO CORPORATIVO Y LA CODICIA! DEFENDER LA TIERRA ANCESTRAL!
¡LUCHA CONTRA LA GUERRA DE AGRESIÓN IMPERIALISTA!
¡ACABAR CON LA MILITARIZACIÓN DE LAS COMUNIDADES INDÍGENAS!

Traduction par DeepL

Défendre le droit des peuples autochtones à l’autodétermination!

Nous, peuples autochtones du monde, revendiquons cette journée comme la nôtre pour célébrer les victoires pour lesquelles nous nous sommes collectivement battus et pour maintenir notre engagement ferme dans la lutte pour l’autodétermination et la libération. À l’occasion de la Journée internationale des peuples autochtones, le 9 août, le Mouvement international des peuples autochtones pour l’autodétermination et la libération (IPMSDL) salue tous les peuples autochtones à travers le monde, renouvelant ainsi notre engagement résolu à faire progresser notre lutte pour l’autodétermination et à défendre nos terres, nos territoires et nos modes de vie.

La crise économique mondiale s’intensifie, s’approfondit et s’aggrave à mesure que la domination impérialiste et la quête de superprofits se poursuivent. Les forêts et les montagnes sont confrontées à un taux incommensurable de dévastation, dont la plupart sont des territoires ancestraux et des foyers de communautés autochtones qui sont en proie au pillage des ressources. Nous sommes les protecteurs de nos forêts et de la biodiversité et pourtant nous sommes privés de notre droit de déterminer notre propre destin. Cela a conduit à l’aggravation de la situation environnementale mondiale, causant une pauvreté massive, la faim, la violence génocidaire, les déplacements et les conflits, non seulement pour les peuples autochtones, mais aussi pour les minorités nationales et les peuples opprimés.

Nous célébrons cette journée à la lumière des nombreuses batailles que nous avons menées contre les deux principaux périls auxquels nous sommes confrontés – l’intensification de l’entrée et des opérations des sociétés transnationales et multinationales (STN et multinationales), qui pillent nos terres ancestrales et déplacent notre peuple, et les violations toujours plus graves des droits humains contre les défenseurs des droits des peuples autochtones, y compris la répression de nos actions collectives pour la défense de nos terres et le droit à l’autodétermination. L’intensification des guerres impérialistes d’agression mises en œuvre par l’État à travers une militarisation totale vise à supprimer la résistance contre le pillage massif des ressources.

Malgré ces temps difficiles, les peuples autochtones demeurent implacables dans la lutte pour l’autodétermination. Les Kichwa de l’Amazonie équatorienne affirment leur droit à l’autodétermination en évinçant plusieurs utilisations du pétrole de leur région et en préservant leur forêt pour le bénéfice des générations futures. Au milieu d’être l’un des endroits les plus dangereux pour les défenseurs de la terre et de l’environnement, les communautés autochtones avec les mouvements de masse du Brésil, de la Colombie, et dans le reste de l’Amérique latine continuent à se développer et à gagner de l’élan dans le renforcement de la protection des droits des peuples autochtones. Les communautés Lumad de Mindanao, aux Philippines, malgré le harcèlement et l’intimidation constants de l’État, sont de plus en plus déterminées à lutter contre le pillage et la militarisation impérialistes. Les défenseurs des droits des peuples autochtones du nord-est de l’Inde continuent de faire campagne contre des projets énergétiques de plusieurs millions de dollars et des entreprises extractives. Les peuples autochtones de la sous-région du Mékong résistent également à toutes les formes d’accaparement de terres par diverses STN et oligarques locaux. L’histoire nous dit que l’intensification des assauts impérialistes suscite une plus grande résistance populaire.

Alors que nous commémorons cette année la Journée mondiale des peuples autochtones, élevons la lutte pour l’autodétermination au nom de la liberté totale de toute forme d’oppression et de discrimination. Battons-nous contre les offensives de l’impérialisme en pillant nos terres et nos ressources. Soulignons les luttes des peuples autochtones contre les attaques génocidaires des STN et des multinationales qui menacent en permanence la survie des générations futures. Faisons preuve d’une grande solidarité entre les communautés autochtones internationales et entre elles, consolidons l’unité avec les autres peuples opprimés du monde et décidons fermement que nous poursuivrons notre lutte pour la libération et l’autodétermination jusqu’à la victoire !

LUTTE POUR L’AUTODÉTERMINATION ET LA LIBÉRATION ! À BAS L’IMPÉRIALISME !
ARRÊTEZ DE TUER LES MILITANTS DES DROITS DES PEUPLES AUTOCHTONES !
L’ACTIVISME N’EST PAS DU TERRORISME !
RÉSISTEZ AU PILLAGE ET À L’AVIDITÉ DES ENTREPRISES !
DÉFENDRE LES TERRES ANCESTRALES !

COMBATTEZ LA GUERRE D’AGRESSION IMPÉRIALISTE !
METTRE FIN À LA MILITARISATION DES COMMUNAUTÉS AUTOCHTONES !

 

 

PRESS RELEASE | On IP Day: int’l groups demand pullout, accountability of Chinese company in Cambodia

PRESS RELEASE
August 8, 2018

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
int’l groups demand pullout, accountability of Chinese company in Cambodia

Two global movements supporting Indigenous Kuoy communities in Cambodia trooped to the embassies of China and Cambodia in Makati City, Philippines on Aug. 8, 2018, a day before the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IDWIP), to submit a petition calling for the pullout and accountability of Chinese state-owned enterprise Guangdong Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co., Ltd.

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), both based in the Philippines, launched the petition early this year to gather the support of the international community in urging the governments of China and Cambodia to act upon the issue. The petition is endorsed by around 350 organizations from different countries, some of which will also spearhead parallel actions in their respective countries on Aug. 9, 2018.

“We express our solidarity to the peasant and indigenous communities in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia who have been struggling for more than five years now to assert their rights over the disputed land. We hope that our global action in commemoration of the IDWIP would put timely pressure to both the governments of China and Cambodia to finally fulfill their mandate in protecting the welfare of the affected people especially the Indigenous Kuoys,” said Beverly Longid, global coordinator of IPMSDL.

According to reports, the Cambodia government granted Hengfu’s five subsidiaries the license over 36,000 hectares of land as economic concession in 2011. As of 2016, 16,000 hectares are already converted into sugarcane plantations. It is claimed to be among the world’s biggest sugar factories.

Ponlok Khmer, a Cambodian NGO and member organization of PCFS, is helping the communities in their struggle against the company.

Longid said the people of Preah Vihear are elevating their concern at the international level because of the lacking response they have earned through local engagements. Since Hengfu encroached the land, thousands of residents in Preah Vihear lost their livelihood and many were displaced. The company even bulldozed ancient structures and artifacts of the indigenous communities, she added.

“It is a shame that the Cambodian Government is denying the people their right to self-determination by opening up ancestral lands to foreign investments at the expense of not only the lives of the individual residents who have long depended on it, but also their collective identity as an Indigenous Peoples. Worse, China easily gets away with it knowing how influential it is to Cambodia economy and politics,” said Longid.

“Prior to our global day of action, the villagers have been actually in communication with different international bodies such as the United Nations for their intervention. They find that Cambodia’s political interests in its relations with China are more decisive when it comes to how land disputes involving Chinese investors are dealt with,” said Roy Anunciacon, PCFS global secretariat coordinator.

“While there are numerous laws and international covenants that provide measures on holding corporate violators accountable, it really takes political will for justice to take place. In Preah Vihear, the people are exercising it,” he added.

Anunciacion also expressed concern on the reported threats and harassment against community leaders in order to suppress the people’s resistance.

“The issue is more than a case of an abusive foreign investor, but of a development framework that only feeds corporate greed. People’s lives are always at stake here,” said Longid.

“We stand with the Preah Vihear people. Likewise, our formations demand to cancel the concession of Hengfu, pull it out of Cambodia, and hold it accountable for all its violations,” Anunciacion said.

The struggle against Hengfu’s landgrabbing in Cambodia is part of the of the global campaigns of IPMSDL and PCFS against land and resource grabs and the defense of ancestral lands. ###

REFERENCES:
Beverly Longid – info@ipmsdl.org
Roy Anunciacion – secretariat@foodsov.org
(+632) 664 6327

AUGUST 9: GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION

 

AUGUST 9: GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION

On August 9, we call on everyone to the GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION to celebrate and stand for the continuing struggle and victories of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in different parts of the world against imperialist assaults on IP rights to self-determination. In this year’s commemoration of the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, let us unite and highlight the struggles and victories of Indigenous communities against the intensifying resource exploitation of transnational corporations (TNCs), war and militarization, and the worsening human rights situation attacking IP rights defenders and the collective action in defense of land, territory, and way of life. Together, we will amplify the voices and demands of Indigenous Peoples for the right to self-determination. Let us strengthen our solidarity and broad unity among and between Indigenous communities and all oppressed peoples! Long live the struggle of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination!

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9 DE AGOSTO: DÍA MUNDIAL DE ACCIÓN

El 9 de agosto, llamamos a todos a la JORNADA MUNDIAL DE ACCIÓN para celebrar y defender la lucha y las victorias continuas de los Pueblos Indígenas en diferentes partes del mundo contra los ataques imperialistas a los derechos de PI a la libre determinación. En la conmemoración de este año del DÍA INTERNACIONAL DE LOS INDÍGENAS DEL MUNDO, unámonos y destaquemos las luchas y victorias de las comunidades indígenas contra la intensificación de la explotación de los recursos de las empresas transnacionales (ETN), la guerra y la militarización, y el empeoramiento de la situación de los derechos humanos que ataca a los defensores de los derechos de PI y la acción colectiva en defensa de la tierra, el territorio y el modo de vida. Juntos, amplificaremos las voces y demandas de los Pueblos Indígenas por el derecho a la libre determinación. Fortalezcamos nuestra solidaridad y nuestra amplia unidad entre las comunidades indígenas y todos los pueblos oprimidos! Viva la lucha de los Pueblos Indígenas por la autodeterminación!

(Traducción realizada con el traductor www.DeepL.com/Translator)

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9 AOÛT : JOURNÉE MONDIALE D’ACTION

Le 9 août, nous appelons tout le monde à la JOURNÉE MONDIALE D’ACTION pour célébrer et défendre la lutte continue et les victoires des peuples autochtones dans différentes parties du monde contre les assauts impérialistes sur la PI à l’autodétermination. Dans la commémoration de cette année de la JOURNÉE INTERNATIONALE DES PERSONNES AUTOCHTONES DU MONDE, unissons-nous et soulignons les luttes et les victoires des communautés autochtones contre l’exploitation interne des ressources des sociétés transnationales (STN), la guerre et la militarisation, et la dégradation de la situation des droits de l’homme en attaquant les défenseurs des droits de propriété intellectuelle et l’action collective pour la défense de la terre, du territoire et du mode de vie. Ensemble, nous amplifierons les voix et les revendications des peuples autochtones pour le droit à l’autodétermination. Renforçons notre solidarité et notre grande unité parmi et entre les communautés autochtones et les peuples opprimés ! Vive la lutte des peuples autochtones pour l’autodétermination!

(Traduit avec www.DeepL.com/Translator)