A group of Naga women performing a cultural presentation with based on the theme of the traditional weaving at Hornbill Festival 2017. On the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples observed on August 9, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for commitment “to fully realize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the rights to self-determination and to traditional lands, territories and resources.” (Morung File Photo)
On World’s Indigenous Peoples Day, AIPP calls for defending one’s rights for justice, peace and a sustainable world
DIMAPUR, AUGUST 9 (MExN): Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), an organization of indigenous peoples’ movement in Asia, on Thursday revealed that in recent years, there have been significant increase in the attacks on human rights defenders and have witnessed the shrinking of civic space.
In a statement released on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, AIPP secretary general, Gam A Shimray said at least 1019 human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists have been killed in 61 countries since 2015, 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, the AIPP stated.
Given the circumstances, the AIPP has condemned 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, the AIPP statement read.
While expressing solidarity with all democratic forces to reverse this trend that, if unchecked, will further derail democracy and increasingly threaten basic universal human rights, the AIPP said 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.
It also called on governments in Asia and CSOs to strengthen dialogue and partnership with indigenous peoples for building a more democratic, just and sustainable society. It also reiterated the commitment to leave no one behind under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are framed for the realization of human rights for all.