AMAN: Stament of Concern on the Increasing Harassment and Intimidation of Indigenous People's Leaders and Human Rights Defenders

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

The Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN), representing more then 2000 indigenous   communities   throughout   Indonesia,   condemns   the   recent   action   taken   by   the Philippines Government to criminalize 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) 
  9. Datu Isidro Indao, a Matigsalog village chief, council member of the PASAKA Lumad Confederation in Southern Mindanao, Tinananon Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa (TIKULPA) spokesperson, and an active member of the Parent-Teacher Community Association   (PTCA)   of   the   Lumad   school   run   by   the   Mindanao   Interfaith   Services Foundation, Inc. (MISFI);  
  10. Datu  Mampadayag,  a  Banwaon  village  chief  and  member  of  the  Tagdumahan  Lumad organization;  
  11. Datu  Mandayhon,  a  Talaandig  village  chief  and  member  of  the  Pigyayongaan  Lumad organization;  
  12. Sergio Lumonday, a Manobo and the TIKULPA Secretary General;  
  13. At least 14 other Matigsalog and Manobo Lumad farmers, village official and a college student,  who  are  also  members  of  the  TIKULPA  Lumad  organization  in  Arakan,  North Cotabato;  
  14. And   at  least   4  Higaonon   community   members   of  the  Kalumbay   Regional   Lumad Organization in Northern Mindanao, including village chieftains and a minor who was also the  lone  survivor  of  a  massacre  committed  by  the  1st  Special  Forces  Battalion  in  August 2017.  

 

AMAN   is  deeply   disturbed   to  see   how   the   Philippines,   once   an  inspiration   to  indigenous organizations  throughout the world, with the passage of the 1997 Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, has  descended   into  being  a  virtual  police  state,  where  any  individual   or  organization   who challenges the Executive is accused of terrorism.

AMAN openly affirms 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 Major Group on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 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. 

 

AMAN  calls  upon  all  international  multilateral  organizations  to  declare  an  immediate  halt  to financial and technical assistance being provided to the Philippines Government until a time when just governmental practices are established.

 

Jakarta, 15 March 2018

The Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) 

Rukka Sombolinggi, Secretary General