Civil Society Sign-on Statement
From Honduras, To Philippines, To Standing Rock…
Rise Against Corporate Plunder and Militarisation: Stop the Attacks on Indigenous Peoples!
Over the past few years we have seen the intensifying corporate plunder of Indigenous Peoples’ land and resources and the state-sponsored attacks against their resistance and struggles.
It is a cruel irony that the women and men who stand as the protectors of the Earth’s last frontier are being threatened, criminalised, and murdered with impunity.
According to Global Witness’ report, there were 185 killings of Indigenous Peoples across 16 countries in 2015. This is by far the highest annual death toll on record. Conflicts over mining were the number one cause of killings, with agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and logging also key drivers of violence.
We welcomed the year 2016 feeling outraged at the dastardly murder of indigenous leader Berta Caceres in Honduras. Berta was at forefront of campaign against the construction of a hydroelectric project that would have caused severe environmental damage and displacement of Indigenous Peoples of Lenca.
The attacks have only continued and escalated since.
In North Dakota, USA, on Oct. 22, over 100 people, who call themselves protectors, were arrested at a peaceful march after they were confronted by police in riot gear, carrying assault rifles. For months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has been waging a pitched battle against a proposed oil pipeline that would run near their reservation. The $3.8 billion project can endanger both their water supplies and sacred sites. Last September, private security for the company building the pipeline attacked the Native American protesters blocking the bulldozers using dogs and pepper spray.
In the Philippines, the police’ brutal dispersal of the peaceful assembly of our Indigenous and Moro sisters and brothers in front of the US Embassy in Manila on October 19, 2016. Scores were hurt and arrested (including a former Peace for Life consultant) as authorities charged at protesters with truncheons, water cannons, and a rampaging police vehicle that run over the crowd. The demonstration sought to bring to public attention the militarisation of their communities, the occupation of their ancestral lands by extractive business, and outright government discrimination and neglect.
In West Papua, Indonesian authorities continue to repress West Papuan’s self-determination efforts through censorship and force, violating human rights in the process. In the last three years, 27 West Papuans have been killed. They are prohibited from holding protests and organizing social movements, and many have been arrested and detained for campaigning against extraction and plantation activities. Such arrests have reportedly increased since the beginning of 2016 amounting to 4000 between April and June 2016 and have included human rights activists and journalists.
In Kenya, the Sengwer people continue to be forcibly displaced from their Mt. Embobut ancestral domain; the same goes for the Ogiek, Endorois, In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the indigenous Mbuti Pygmies have been forced off the Itwombe Forest and are victims of a “wipe the slate” campaign. The San Indigenous Peoples of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa face daily discrimination. They and other indigenous marginalized peoples of Africa are often dispossessed of their ancestral lands.
Indigenous Peoples inhabit lands that are rich in natural resources, but they are among the poorest populations due to economical exclusions and deprivation of basic social, cultural and political rights and fundamental freedoms including rights to their lands, territories, and resources.
Today, land ownership remains an urgent issue for indigenous peoples. Ancestral domain is a crucial element in preserving indigenous culture and for their very survival. In the era of neoliberal globalization, however, land has also become the curse that has brought them tremendous suffering and pain.
According to estimates, as much as 50% of the gold produced between 1995 and 2015, and up to 70% of copper production by 2020, will take place on the territories of indigenous peoples. New trade and investments deals push for the appropriation of previously inaccessible territories to extractive business. As a result, indigenous populations are expelled from their ancestral domains, depriving them of their living spaces, resources, and livelihoods, all in the name of economic growth and development.
The current thrust of governments to reduce public spending for basic social services and the privatisation of health, education, and other critical infrastructures aggravate the marginalization and exclusion of indigenous populations. They suffer from poor health, limited educational opportunities, and shorter life expectancy.
Indigenous Peoples are denied their right to self-determination. Although they have their distinct economic, social, religious, historical, and cultural heritage, they have no status as states and no representation.
Indigenous Peoples have been cultivating and developing their local plant life for centuries, but western legal regimes such as TRIPS that allow big corporations to acquire monopoly patents over life forms and life creating processes criminalise Indigenous Peoples for practicing their customs and traditions.
The current climate crisis further aggravates the vulnerability and marginalisation of Indigenous Peoples. The unsustainable production and consumption patterns promoted by Northern governments, big corporations and multilateral institutions have led to the erosion of the environment and climate change. They have refused to honour their historical responsibilities to reduce emissions and pay reparations and are even pushing through with new plans for expanded resource extraction through new free trade and investment deals. Meanwhile, indigenous peoples, who contributed the least to global warming, are bearing the brunt of human-induced climate disasters.
Indigenous peoples have suffered from a long history of dispossession exploitation carried out by colonizers. In the era of militarised globalization, indigenous peoples find themselves anew on a face to face battle with transnational corporations, investors, governments, and multilateral institutions seeking to bleed their resources, tradition, and life dry in the name of development and profit.
But Indigenous Peoples’ are fighting back and reclaiming their right to their resources, their traditions, beliefs, and self-determination. Their collective resistance continues to be one of the most endurable and potent in challenging the hegemony of capitalism and imperialism.
We are called upon to proclaim and translate into concrete reality God’s inclusive love to promote compassion, generosity, and respect for diversity. In these times of crisis, our spirituality demands that we stand for justice and human dignity for all, but especially for our Indigenous sisters and brothers who are being deprived of their voice, rights, and lives.
We condemn and call for an end to militarisation and occupation of ancestral lands and the political repression, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and all forms of human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples and activists. We call on governments to uphold and respect the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Peoples, and other relevant international conventions.
We join our indigenous sisters and brothers in defending their land against development aggression and plunder of their resources by extractive business. We resist new free trade and investment deals that seek to monopolise indigenous peoples’ resources and wealth, knowledge and practices. We are one with them in their struggle to shift away from neoliberal and capitalist development models and to build a new system based on the rational, collective, and democratic management and use of resources in the interest of the people and the wellbeing of the planet.
We endeavour to promote an inclusive development process that respects the rights of all socio-cultural groups, minorities, indigenous peoples, religions etc. over their cultural heritage and natural resources and respecting their right to define and pursue their own development aspirations.
We support the struggles of Indigenous Peoples for self-determination, liberation and sovereignty. We pledge to participate and support campaigns and initiatives in pursuance of these goals.
Stop the attacks on Indigenous Peoples!
End the corporate plunder and militarisation of Indigenous Peoples’ lands!
Fight for Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and liberation!
1. Ageing Nepal (Nepal)
2. Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Burma)
3. Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (India)
4. Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (Regional – Asia)
5. Asia Indigenous Women’s Network (Regional – Asia)
6. Asia Monitor Resource Centre (Regional – Asia Pacific)
7. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (Regional – Asia-Pacific)
8. Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (Regional – Asia – Pacific)
9. Asian Peasant Coalition (Regional – Asia)
10. Asia-Pacific Research Network (Regional – Asia Pacific)
11. Association for Promotion for Sustainable Development (India)
12. AwaaZ (Kenya)
13. Awaz CDS (Pakistan)
14. Badayl Goa (India)
15. Bangladesh Apparel Workers Federation (Bangladesh)
16. Baraka Women’s Centre (Kenya)
17. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Philippines)
18. Beyond Beijing Committee (Nepal)
19. Bolivian Platform on Climate Change (Bolivia)
20. Borok Peoples’ Human Rights Organisation( India)
21. Center for Agroecology and Endogenous Rural Development (Zambia)
22. Center for Environmental Concerns (Philippines)
23. Center for Sustainable Community Development (Vietnam)
24. Centre for Human Rights and Climate Change Research (Nigeria)
25. Centre Tricontinental (Belgium)
26. Center for Women’s Resources, Inc. (Philippines)
27. Citizen News Service (India)
28. Climate Action Uganda (Uganda)
29. Community Development Services (Sri Lanka)
30. Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (Philippines)
31. Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center (Philippines)
32. Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley/KMP Cagayan Valley (Philippines)
33. Eastern Africa Smallholder Farmers’ Association (Regional – Africa)
34. Ecological Christian Organization (Uganda)
35. Ecological Society of the Philippines (Philippines)
36. Economics Association of Malawi (Malawi)
37. Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (Brazil)
38. Ecumenical Bishops Forum (Philippines)
39. Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (Philippines)
40. Fahamu Africa (Regional – Africa)
41. First Nations Enforcement Agency, Arizona and Hawaii (US)
42. FEMNET African Women’s Development and Communication Network (Regional – Africa)
43. Forum of Collective Forms of Cooperation (India)
44. Gram Bharati Samiti (India)
45. Global Agenda for Total Emancipation (Nigeria)
46. Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights (Hawai’i)
47. Health Alliance for Democracy (Philippines)
48. IBON Foundation (Philippines)
49. INA (Māori, Indigenous & South Pacific) HIV/AIDS Foundation (Āotearoa/New Zealand)
50. Indian Social Action Forum (India)
51. Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (Global)
52. Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand (Thailand)
53. Inspirator Muda Nusantara (Indonesia)
54. Institute for Social and Economic Studies (Brazil)
55. Instituto Giramundo Mutuando (Brazil)
56. Integrated Rural Development of Weaker Sections in India (India)
57. International Indigenous HIV & AIDS Community (Global)
58. International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS (Global)
59. International Migrants’ Alliance (Global)
60. International Migrants’ Alliance Research Foundation (Bangladesh)
61. International Movement for a Just World (Malaysia)
62. Irrigation Training and Economic Empowerment Organization (Tanzania)
63. Joint Advocacy Initiative (Palestine)
64. Kairos Palestina Brazil (Brazil)
65. Kalikasan Peoples’ Network for the Environment (Philippines)
66. Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (Kenya)
67. Kenya Land Alliance (Kenya)
68. Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Philippines)
69. Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre (Nigeria)
70. Light House Bogra (Bangladesh)
71. Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (Sri Lanka)
72. Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Nigeria)
73. National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (Nepal)
74. National Council of Churches in India (India)
75. National Council of Churches in the Philippines (Philippines)
76. Oikotree (Global)
77. Ogoni Solidarity Forum (Nigeria)
78. Orissa Development Action Forum (India)
79. Pacific Network on Globalisation (Fiji Islands)
80. Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Philippines)
81. Pakistan Development Alliance (Pakistan)
82. Pakistan Kisan Mazdoor Tahreek (Pakistan)
83. People Over Profit (Global)
84. People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (Global)
85. Philippines-Palestine Friendship Association (Philippines)
86. Polaris Institute (Canada)
87. Progressive Plantation Workers Union (India)
88. Ritongo Afrika (Regional – Africa)
89. Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (Philippines)
90. Silingan Dapit sa Sidlakang Mindanao (Philippines)
91. Socialist Party (India)
92. Socio-Economic-Educational Development Service (India)
93. Solidarite des Femmes Pour Le Bien être Social et le Progrès /ONG-Droits des Femmes au Burundi (Burundi)
94. Stand Up For Your Rights (Netherlands)
95. Student Christian Movement of India (India)
96. Tebtebba Indigenous Peoples International centre for Policy Research and Education (Philippines)
97. Tenaganita Women’s Force (Malaysia)
98. Theology and Development Program, University of Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa)
99. United Church of Christ in the Philippines (Philippines)
100. Visthar Academy of Peace and Justice (India)
101. Vote for Health Campaign, Asha Parivar (India)
102. Welfare Togo (Togo)
103. We Women Lanka (Sri Lanka)
104. Worec Nepal (Nepal)
105. Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (United States)
106. World Student Christian Federation (Global)
107. Worldview Mission (Netherlands)
108. Youth Association for Development (Pakistan)
109. Zo Indigenous Forum (India)
1. Omega Chilufya Bula, Peace for Life (Zambia)
2. Padi Rex RB Reyes, National Council of Churches in the Philippines (Philippines)
3. Ajaya Kumar Singh (India)
4. Andrea Mann, Anglican Church of Canada (Canada)
5. Athena Peralta, World Council of Churches (Global)
6. Bishop Eric Attique Sidhu, Ecumenical Association for Community Development and Research (Pakistan)
7. Carmencita Peralta-Karagdag, Peace for Life (Philippines)
8. Christopher Rajkumar, National Council of Churches in India (India)
9. Daya Sagar Shrestha, NGO Federation (Nepal)
10. Dhirendra Panda, Civil Society Forum on Human Rights/Centre for Sustainable Use of Natural and Social Resources (India)
11. Dickson Rotich, Sengwer Union (Kenya)
12. Dominic DSouza (India)
13. Dr. Aruna Gnanadason (India)
14. Dr. Daniel Ezhilarasu (India)
15. Dr. Noor Fatima, International Islamic University (Pakistan)
16. Dr. Ulrich Duchrow (Germany)
17. Dr. Walter Fernandes, North Eastern Social Research Centre (India)
18. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, Peace for Life/Oikotree (Global)
19. Kathryn Poethig, California State University Monterey Bay/Peace for Life (US)
20. Irfan Engineer (Centre for Study of Society and Secularism) (India)
21. Na’eem Jeenah, Afro-Middle East Centre (South Africa)
22. Jasmin Zine Ph.D, Department of Sociology Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada)
23. Julian Kunnie (US)
24. Samson Kama (US)
25. Kasta Dip, India Peace Centre (India)
26. Louis Tillman (USA)
27. Marama Pala (New Zealand)
28. Marlene Francia, Ibon International – Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office
29. Nancy Cardoso, Comissão Pastoral de Terra (Brazil)
30. Nidal Abu Zuluf, Joint Advocacy Initiative (Palestine)
31. Ofelia Cantor, Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum (Philippines)
32. Pamela Brubaker, California Lutheran University (USA)
33. Prafulla Samantara, Lokshakti Abhiyan (India)
34. Prof. Chung Hyun Kung, Union of Theological Seminary, NYC (United States)
35. Prof. Clifton Kirkpatrick, World Christianity and Ecumenical Studies (United States)
36. Prof. Fructuoso Sabug Jr., Ateneo de Manila University/Peace for Life (Philippines)
37. Ram Puyani, All-India Secular Forum (India)
38. RD Marte, Asia Pacific Council of Aids Services Organizations (Malaysia)
39. Ranjan Panda (India)
40. Rev. Alan Rey Sarte, UCCP (Philippines)
41. Rev. Eunice Santana Melecio (Puerto Rico)
42. Rev. Liberato Bautista Assistant, UN and International Affairs Church and Society/The United Methodist Church
43. Rifat Odeh Kassis (Palestine)
44. Sathish Samuel (India)
45. Sandeep Kumar Pattnaik, National Center for Advocacy Studies (India)
46. Sanjay Khatua (India)
47. Shadaab Rahemtulla (Jordan)
48. Shanzae Asif (Pakistan)
49. Sushant Stanley (India)
50. T.S.S. Mani, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (India)
51. Tony Clarke, Polaris Institute (Canada)
52. Viliame Dileqa
53. William Stanley, EcoDAWM/Oikotree (India)