Cambodia: Cambodia Indigenous Women Statement for Human Rights Day 2013

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    We, the indigenous women leaders from eight provinces in Cambodia, together with our advocates from our men leaders, national and regional indigenous peoples organizations, and national NGOs, have come together in this 1st National Indigenous Women’s Human Rights Training on Documentation and Advocacy from 3-6 December 2013 at Phnom Penh, Cambodia, shared and analyzed our situation, and have come to the conclusion that our condition of marginalization, discrimination and violence arises mainly from the failure of the Royal Government of Cambodia to respect, protect and fulfill its obligations under national laws and international human rights law. Our lands and resources are being taken away and given to corporations and cronies. Oftentimes, we only know about these when machines come to flatten our farms and homes and clear our forests. This is exacerbated by the failure of the government to implement effectively, judiciously and without delay, the law which allows us to have legal recognition of our collective land rights. Divide and rule is reigning in our communities due to the confusion from the directive to choose individual private land titles over collective land titles. Information on developments coming to our territories, be it economic or social land concessions, dams, mines, researches, land titling, or others, are not available to us in a language we understand, nor given in a manner which respects our traditional decision-making processes, nor in a time which will allows us to process the information and make our own decisions. In almost all instances, we are told that whether we like it or not, our lands will be taken away.

    The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) voted for the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 for which it has committed to respect, protect and fulfill our individual and collective rights. The RCG has its Land Law of 2001 and Forestry Law of 2002 which recognizes the collective rights of indigenous peoples to their territory and provides for measures to fulfill these. However, more than 10 years after the legislation of these affirmative laws on our rights, we, indigenous women and our peoples are fighting for our lives as our lands, territories and resources are being taken away in favor of corporate and state interests. As indigenous women, we suffer disproportionately because we are the main users of forests, keepers of the spirit forests, and responsible for the maintenance of our farms and gardens for the subsistence and welfare of our families. The RGC has assured us under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women to promote gender equality and combat discrimination against women.

    On the occasion of the celebration of the 2013 International Human Rights Day, we call on the Royal Government of Cambodia to:

    1. STOP granting economic or social land concessions on indigenous territories without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the affected communities. Information on all such concessions, dams, infrastructure development, mines, research and other activities undertaken in our territories must be provided to us within a sufficient period of time for us to study, assess and decide through our own decision-making processes, and in a language which we can understand. This will allow us to say NO to such developments.
    2. SUSPEND the implementation of Directive 01BB. Instead FAST-TRACK the implementation of the Sub-decree on communal land titling by providing resources for the information, education and communication on the Sub-decree to all indigenous communities and for meeting the requirements of the communal land registration; allow for experts, including indigenous experts and human rights organisations, to assist indigenous communities to understand the Sub-decree, meet the requirements, and go through the process.
    3. STOP IMMEDIATELY the activities of Rui Feng Co. Ltd. and Lan Feng Co. Ltd.  in Pramer Commune in Preah Vihear Province which is continuing with impunity destroying our farms, forests, including spirit forests and sacred sites, despite our continuing protests made known to authorities at the local to the national levels. Up to now, no action has been made to finally resolve our concerns except for the issuance of promises while allowing the corporations to continue to destroy our lands and livelihoods.  Related to this is the delay in the process of our collective land registration while the ELCs have been easily granted to the corporations.
    4. INVESTIGATE immediately the allegations that SOCFIN is threatening villagers in Bousra Commune, Pichreada District, Mondulkiri Province as they go about their traditional livelihood activities and cheating villagers through violations of the provisions of the contract on share-cropping, denying indigenous women and their families to meet their subsistence needs.
    5. REVOKE the Social Land Concession in Bunong territory in Bousra Commune, Pichreada Dsitrict, Mondulkiri Province where provincial authorities have granted such concession to non-indigenous people who have destroyed conservation, spirit forests and graveyards,  and which has jeopardized the collective land registration process of the affected Bunong communities.

    We call on the RGC to respect, protect and fulfil our rights as indigenous women.

    Twenty-nine indigenous women and three men representatives from the Bunong, Suy, Kui, Tampoun, Stieng, Jarai, Chorng, Prov and Por peoples from Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Koh Kong, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear, Pursat, Ratanakiri, Steung Treng.

    Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
    Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association
    Highlanders Association
    Indigenous Community Support Organization
    Indigenous Rights Active Members
    Organization to Promote Kui Culture

    Endorsed by:
    Organisations
    1.Asian Indigenous Women’s Network
    2.Borneo Resources Institute, Malaysia (BRIMAS)
    3.Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Philippines
    4.Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center (CWEARC), Philippines
    5.Integrated Development Program for Indigenous People in Southern Tagalog (IDPIP-ST, Philippines
    6.Kalipunan ng Mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP), Philippines
    7.North East Peoples Alliance, North East India
    8.Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, Philippines
    9.Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region, Philippines
    10. Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services, Philippines

    Individuals
    1.Tinay Palabay, KARAPATAN, Philippines
    2.Kumbaya Estima, Philippines
    3.Eleanor Bang-oa, Philippines
    4.Elisabeth Nusmartaty, Indonesia
    5.Hoang Cong, Vietnam
    6.Luchie Maranan, Philippines
    7.Bernice See, Philippines
    8.Poe Say, Puma
    9.Cheryl Daytec, Philippines
    10.Darius and Joy Doktor, Philippines
    11.Atty. Raymond Baguilat, Legal Adviser of the Office of Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr., 16th Congress, Philippines
    12.Bernard L. Daytec, Provincial Legal Officer, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Quezon Province, Philippines
    13.Girard Kibiten Ao-wat, Philippines