Karapatan holds day of solidarity with indigenous children at the Lakbayan 2017 Kampuhan

Press Release | September 17, 2017

Karapatan, in cooperation with Sandugo, Hustisya and Temperamental Brats, held a storytelling session, crafts-making workshop, and cultural program for indigenous children at the 2017 Kampuhan ng Pambansang Minorya, UP Equine Stud Farm, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Quezon City on September 17, 2017. The activity was also supported by artists, young educators, human rights activists, and civil libertarians. 

“This activity is an endeavor to provide indigenous children with a venue to express themselves, and for the rest of us to learn from indigenous children. These children, coming from the Igorot, Aeta, Dumagat and Lumad communities, are facing various challenges – from being deprived of their right to education, access to other social services and even being subjected to various forms of harassment and intimidation by State security forces. This is a space for them to tell their stories, and a space of for solidarity with their aspirations for free education and to stop the attacks against their schools,” said Karapatan Legal Counsel and project head Maria Sol Taule. 

The children, along with their communities have joined the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2017 to bring their legitimate concerns and issues in Manila, raising their collective voice to articulate the different threats and problems they are facing. These range from the militarization of their communities to the attacks on their alternative indigenous schools. Various groups, led by Save our Schools (SOS) Network have set-up a “bakwit” school in UP Diliman, University of Sto. Tomas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, among other hosts, to facilitate the continuation of their education in light of pronouncements to bomb Lumad schools, among other statements that enable State forces to continue violations in their communities.

“Their schools are legitimate and are outstanding initiatives from the communities and local organizations themselves. Despite undergoing the necessary processes of acquiring permits from concerned government agencies, the attacks against schools, its students and teachers still continue. Just last September 5, a 19-year-old Lumad student, Obello Bay-ao, was shot dead by two paramilitary forces. Fellow students of the Salugpongan ‘Ta Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) cried upon learning of their classmate’s death. For indigenous students who have long been neglected by the government, such grave threats and violence perpetrated by State forces in their communities are violative of any human rights standard,” Taule further said.  

Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor added that “the event is also a platform for human rights advocates to show their support for indigenous children in many ways. Through art, the sharing of stories, and a consolidation of our plights and experiences, the children will hopefully be reassured that they are not alone in their continuing struggle for the protection of their ancestral domain and struggle self-determination.”

“The political situation points to a more distressing future with relentless attacks on indigenous communities, facilitated and instigated by the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. This is aggravated by the imposition of martial law in Mindanao and the looming threat of a nationwide martial law. This platform of solidarity is a way to strengthen our resolve, joining our collective voice where the children and the rest of us are one in calling for an end to the fascist attacks against indigenous communities and the Filipino people in general,” ended Clamor.

The said activity was supported by the Civic Space Initiative, in the global campaign for #TogetherWeSpeak, led by international human rights organizations Article 19, World Movement for Democracy, Civicus World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL).

Reference: 

Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, 0999-7721233 

Atty. Ma. Sol Taule, Karapatan Legal Counsel, 0945-2966916

 

You may also want to visit:

Desaparecidos

Selda 

free all political prisoners