UNPFII17: Statement of Asia Indigenous Peoples on SDGs

Agenda 8: “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and resources”
Presented by: Jill Cariño of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus

The global agreement on sustainable development is underpinned by the realization of human rights and calls for leaving no one behind. However, Indigenous Peoples as one of the recognized Major Groups continue to experience serious challenges for their meaningful participation and inclusion in relation to the respect and protection of their individual and collective rights.  In particular, many of the development targets to achieve the SDGs pose serious threats to the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, territories and resources.  In These projects and plans include more than 100 large dams, considered as clean energy in South and South East Asia, expansion of commercial agricultural plantations, infrastructure projects such as high-ways cutting through forests and territories of indigenous peoples.

Many of these projects are being opposed by indigenous peoples because of its clear violation to their rights over their lands, territories and resources, their right to self-determined development, cultural integrity, peace and harmony. As indigenous peoples voice out their opposition and take legitimate actions to defend their collective rights against development aggression, we are being intimidated, criminalize, arrested, detained and even killed. In this context, how can we speak of sustainable development when we as indigenous peoples  are being silenced, excluded and treated as criminals or terrorist?

In the Philippines, 34 indigenous human rights defenders are accused as terrorist including the Special Rapporteur, the former member of the Permanent Forum and EMRIP.   This situation is not isolated in Philippines as other countries in Asia, as in Cambodia, Bangladesh and Malaysia, as they have experienced repression in the course of defending their lands and resources.

We thereby call on the Permanent Forum to:

  1. Recommend to States and development actors to ensure the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples rights in general and their rights to their rights to lands, territories and resources in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
  2. Recommend to States to stop the criminalization and repression of indigenous peoples and establish effective mechanism for the protection of and access to justice of land, environment and human rights defenders.
  3. Recommend to States the inclusion and meaningful participation of indigenous peoples in the development planning process from local, national regional and global processes, including in the monitoring and reporting.
  4. Engage more actively with States and development actors in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Major Group to promote the rights and aspirations of indigenous peoples in the SDG processes.
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