National Security Laws and Measures: the Impacts on Indigenous Peoples

The implementation of national security laws, measures, programs and policies results to serious and adverse impacts to the respect for and protection of the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples as enshrined in various international human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws.

After the U.S. government passed its Patriot Act in October 2001, most governments, including Bangladesh, India, the Philippines and Thailand, declared support to the US “War on Terror” and enacted more anti-terror laws or so-called “national security measures.” With these draconian laws, the experiences of indigenous peoples in these countries demonstrate a worsening trend of human rights violations. Among these violations are political killings, arbitrary arrest and torture, militarization of indigenous communities leading to massive displacements, and violence against women.

These national security laws are contrary to the international human rights obligations of states to uphold civil and political rights including freedom of expression, beliefs and legitimate political affiliation, freedom of association and peaceful assembly due process and equal protection of the law, and the right to a fair and free trial in competent courts.

The briefing paper looks into how these national laws and measures are impacting the indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, India, Thailand and the Philippines.

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