AMMS & CTPF: Statement of Concern on the Increasing Harassment & Intimidation of Indigenous Peoples' Leaders & Rights Defenders

STATEMENT OF CONCERN ON THE INCREASING HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ LEADERS AND HUMAN RIGHT DEFENDERS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Adivasi Mahila Maha Sangh( AMMS) and Chhattisgarh Tribal People’s Forum( CTPF), Chhattisgarh, India strongly condemn the recent action taken by the Government of Philippines to criminalize the leaders of the Philippines Indigenous Peoples Movement as well as indigenous leaders working in the international arena.

Latest, a petition filed in court by the Philippine State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice (DOJ), seek to have a number of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders declared as terrorist and outlaws pursuant to the National Security Act of 2007. We have been informed that the list of alleged terrorists includes the following renowned indigenous leaders and human rights defenders:

  1. Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; 
  2. Ms. Joan Carling, Co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, former Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;  
  3. Ms. Joanna Cariño, member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Advisory Council and SANDUGO co-chairperson; 
  4. Mr. Windel Bolinget, Chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA); 
  5. Atty. Jose Molintas, human rights lawyer and former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP);  
  6. Ms. Beverly Longid, global coordinator for the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation;  
  7. Ms. Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding, Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Cordillera; and  
  8. Mr. Sherwin De Vera, Regional Coordinator of DEFEND- Ilocos and member of the Save The Abra River Movement (STARM)

MMS & CTPF openly affirm our confidence in character and credibility of international leaders such as the distinguished Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, United Nation Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Joan Carling, the former Secretary-General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Current Co-Convener of the Indigenous People’s Major Group on Sustainable Development Goals, former CPA Chair and current member of the CPA Advisory Council, as well as those of our other Filipino indigenous brothers and sisters who are being criminalized without due process.

We therefore call on the Philippine government to:  

  1. Remove the names of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders from the list of alleged terrorists;
  2. Ensure the physical safety of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders; and
  3. Abide by State obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including access to justice, freedom of expression and of association. 

 

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Chhattisgarh, India 16 March 2018

Ms. Mamta Kujur, Secretary, AMMS
Praful Lakra, State Convener, CTPF