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. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz,UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
  2. 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. Joanna Cariño,member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Advisory Council and SANDUGO co-chairperson;
  4. Windel Bolinget,Chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA);
  5. Jose Molintas,human rights lawyer and former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP);
  6. Beverly Longid,global coordinator for the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation;
  7. Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding,Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Cordillera; and
  8. 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 Matigsalogand 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 communitymembers 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

Rukka Sombolinggi
Secretary General
The Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN)

Click here to download full statement.

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