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PHILIPPINES: Indigenous peoples’ organizations across Asia call for immediate end to continued killings and abuses of Lumads in Mindanao

By Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact  •  October 20, 2015

20 October 2015 – More than seventy indigenous peoples’ organizations across Asia are calling for an end to the continued killings of and other abuses against Lumads in Mindanao in their joint letter of appeal letter to President Benigno Aquino III after another Lumad leader was killed last September. These organizations also call for an independent and transparent investigation on the roles and accountability of both the paramilitary forces and the Philippine Army in the violence against the Lumads who are the indigenous peoples of southern Philippines in the island of Mindanao.

Lito Abion, a Lumad leader and human rights defender, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen and military troops allegedly abused and tortured three other Lumad men in separate incidents on 28 September. At least 13 Lumads have been killed since January this year – that is at least four Lumads killed every three months – allegedly by the army and paramilitary troops. There are hundreds of reported cases of harassments and arbitrary detentions while more than twenty thousand displaced Lumads are now living in evacuation camps across the region. Seventy-three organizations and two individuals from fourteen countries that signed the letter issued by AIPP urged the President to not let Abion and the three men end up in the long list of unresolved cases of killings and abuses.

The victims of these abuses share common experiences: they are leaders or members of Lumad communities accused of being members or supporters of the New Peoples’ Army; their communities are opposed to the entry of mining in their ancestral domains; and there is military presence and armed conflict in the vicinity of the victims’ communities. Paramilitary groups, who are themselves from indigenous communities, have been openly campaigning for the entry of mining companies and threatening those opposed to these, often in the presence of State security forces.

Abion is not the last victim as reports of other incidents are still coming despite the international attention they have drawn. Abion’s killing came less than a month after the killing of three rights defenders – a school director and two tribal leaders. The UN Special Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples, on the situation of human rights defenders, and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, had called for a full and independent investigation into the killings of the three rights defenders.

In response to local and international pressure, the Department of Justice has announced an investigation into the transgressions against the Lumads of eastern and northern Mindanao. While the AIPP and other organizations welcome this announcement, they also demand that the investigation probe into the roles and accountability of paramilitaries as well as the military forces for the serious violations of human rights done with impunity against Lumads across Mindanao and the root causes of the transgressions in the region. They likewise appeal to the President to immediately disband all paramilitary groups and revoke Executive Order 546, which legitimizes paramilitary groups. The letter reminds the obligations of the Philippine government to protect and respect the rights of indigenous peoples under its own laws and in line with its international human rights obligations including the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Signed by

S. No Organization Country
1 CHT Indigenous Jumma Association Australia (CHTIJAA) Australia
2 Adivasi Facilitators Group (AFG) Bangladesh
3 Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF) Bangladesh
4 Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network (BIWN) Bangladesh
5 CHT Citizens Committee (CHTCC) Bangladesh
6 Kapaeeng Foundation (KF) Bangladesh
7 Maleya Foundation (MF) Bangladesh
8 Trinamul Unnayan Sangstha (TUS) Bangladesh
9 Analyzing Development Issues Centre (ADIC) Cambodia
10 Cambodia Indigenous People’s organization (CIPO) Cambodia
11 Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Alliance (CIPA) Cambodia
12 Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA) Cambodia
13 Equitable Cambodia Cambodia
14 Highlander Association (HA) Cambodia
15 Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) Cambodia
16 Indigenous Rights Active Members (IRAM) Cambodia
17 Mother Nature (MN) Cambodia
18 Organization to Promote Kui Culture (OPKC) Cambodia
19 International Council for the Indigenous Peoples of CHT (ICIP-CHT) France
20 Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha (AGMS) India
21 Adivasi Navajeevan Gathan Navajyoti Agua (ANGNA) India
22 Adivasi Women’s Network, Jharkhand (AWN) India
23 Bharat Munda Samaj (BMS) India
24 Boro Peoples Committee for Peace Initiative (BPCPI) India
25 Boro Women’s Justice Forum (BWJF) India
26 Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRA) India
27 Civil Society Women Organization (CSWO) India
28 Indigenous Women and Children Foundation (IWCF) India
29 Indigenous Women’s Forum of North East India (IWFNEI) India
30 Jharkhand Human Rights Movement (JHRM) India
31 Jharkhandi’s Organisation of Human Rights (JOHAR) India
32 Karbi Human Rights Watch (KHRW) India
33 Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) India
34 Naga Womens’ Union (NWU) India
35 Zo Indigenous Forum (ZIF) India
36 Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN) Indonesia
37 Borneo Resources Institute (BRIMAS) Malaysia
38 Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) Malaysia
39 SAVE Rivers Malaysia
40 Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Malaysia
41 Burma Partnership Myanmar
42 Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) Myanmar
43 Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) Myanmar
44 Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) Myanmar
45 Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities Journalists (FONIJ) Nepal
46 Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association (KCLCDA) Nepal
47 Kirat Welfare Society (KWS) Nepal
48 Kirat Youth Society (KYS) Nepal
49 Kulung Mimchha Guskham (KMG) Nepal
50 National Indigenous Woman’s Federation (NIWF) Nepal
51 Nepal Kirat Kulung Bhasa Sanskkriti Utthan Sangh (NKKBSUS) Nepal
52 NGO-Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalitie (NGO-FONIN) Nepal
53 Peoples Unity Young Society (PUYS) Nepal
54 Youth Awareness Society Nepal (YASN) Nepal
55 Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (YFIN) Nepal
56 Anakbayan-Cordillera Philippines
57 Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE) Philippines
58 Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN) Philippines
59 Cordillera Youth Center (CYC) Philippines
60 Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera Philippines
61 Higala sa Lumad Network Philippines
62 International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self (IPMSDL) Philippines
63 Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples Right (TFIP) Philippines
64 The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Philippines
65 Papora Indigenous People Association (PIDA) Taiwan
66 Taiwan Association for Rights Advancement for Ping Pu Plains Aborigine Peoples  (TARA-Ping Pu) Taiwan
67 Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) Thailand
68 Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand (IMPECT) Thailand
69 Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT) Thailand
70 Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines UK
71 Filipino Chaplaincy – Leicester UK
72 Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM) Vietnam
73 Vietnam Indigenous Knowledge Network (VTIK) Vietnam
S. No Individual Country
1 Aram Pamei India
2 William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News.Com UK

 

For Media Contact:

Joan Carling, Secretary-General, AIPP, +66-(0)85-694-0100joan@aippnet.org
Prabindra Shakya, Human Rights Campaign and Policy Advocacy Programmme Coordinator, AIPP, +66-(0)90-319-7751prabin@aippnet.org

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