AIPP Statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: Defending our rights for Justice, Peace and a Sustainable World

Statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

9th August 2018

In recent years, we have seen significant increase in the attacks on human rights defenders and have witnessed the shrinking of civic space. At least 1019 human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists have been killed in 61 countries since 2015[1], most of whom were protecting their community’s land and natural resources. Approximately, 40 percent of these are indigenous brothers and sisters from around the world, including Asia.

In Asia, development aggression and militarization have been notorious in perpetuating serious human rights violations. With several authoritarian and populists’ regimes and military controlled governments in Asia, civic space has rapidly shrunk. Therefore, the ability of social groups or civil society to use formal political institutions to resolve conflicts, or to use judiciary for justice is less effective than most other regions of the world.

AIPP condemns the human rights violations perpetrated against indigenous human rights defenders, including the declaration of a few hundred human rights activists as terrorist in the Philippines this year.

When peaceful human rights movements are repressed, when human rights defenders and innocent communities are threatened, and when 42 individuals own as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of the world’s population, we are clearly faced with a moral, political and economic crisis.

AIPP members and networks stand in solidarity with all democratic forces to reverse this trend that, if unchecked, will further derail democracy and increasingly threaten basic universal human rights.

The answer to turning the tide lies in the realization of the UN General Assembly’s proclaimed Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a foundation for human freedom and dignity!

Despite threat to our survival, we continue to stand for our inherent right to self-determination and self-governance; the control of our lands, territories and resources; and our unique culture, practices, science and intellectual property. We have no doubt that our struggle contributes to the realization of human rights, democratization, and towards a more sustainable society in the face of repression and threat posed by unsustainable plundering of natural resources and crisis of climate change.

We call on Governments in Asia and CSOs to strengthen dialogue and partnership with indigenous peoples for building a more democratic, just and sustainable society. We also reiterate the commitment to leave no one behind under the SDGs that are framed for the realization of human rights for all. We therefore, call on governments to put their own commitments into action.

We are growing in strength day by day and we take pride in our women and youth leadership, including the growth of leadership of persons with disabilities.

Today, on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, AIPP pays tribute to those who have given their lives for our rights and for our future of justice and peace and a sustainable world.

Gam A. Shimray
Secretary General
Asia indigenous Peoples Pact


[1] Economic and Social Council (2018). Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: report of the Secretary-General, E/2018/64.

Click here to download full statement.

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