Philippines: Declaration of the International Youth Solidarity Conference

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    Strengthening the Role of the Youth in Advancing Peoples Rights & Self-Determination

    We, the indigenous youth, Moro, and advocates indigenous peoples advocates of the International Youth Solidarity Conference: Strengthening the Role of the Youth in Advancing Peoples Rights and Self Determination, gathered at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City, Philippines on the 2nd of September 2016, hereby pledge our unity with the world’s national minorities and support to their struggles and causes.

    We express concern on the general conditions faced by national minorities at present. Their identity is being lost as states and private corporations grab their ancestral lands, territories and natural resources to give way to extractive industries and other so-called “development” projects. Poverty persists due to state neglect, with insufficient if not lack of basic social services such as education and healthcare. Intensified militarization of indigenous communities brings about gross violations of human rights and indigenous peoples’ collective rights. Indigenous culture, language, values and spirituality are disintegrating fast as discrimination, non-recognition, and misrepresentation prevail.

    As youth leaders, we recognize and uphold our vital role as trailblazers in society despite the difficulties and challenges that our sector confronts on its own. We believe in the youth’s potential and capacity to effect the much-needed genuine change, which can only be achieved if we link up arms with national minorities and other marginalized peoples, joining our voices with theirs in the call for life, dignity, self-determination, freedom, justice, and peace. We must therefore direct all our energies and initiatives to defend and advance their interests, aspirations, and welfare while confronting the roots of today’s many social ills.

    To this end, we decisively commit ourselves and call upon the international community to take part in the following actions:

    • Build solidarity with and for the national minorities;
    • Partake in activities, campaigns and other arenas of engagement concerning the rights of indigenous peoples and other national minorities to empower, spread awareness, gather support, and encourage active public participation;
    • Condemn all forms of attacks to the lands and lives of indigenous peoples and other national minorities, as well as demand accountability from the state and its agents for such offenses;
    • Promote indigenous values, customs, and traditions, and contribute to the sustenance of indigenous culture and heritage;
    • Link and raise the struggles of the youth with the struggles of national minorities and other marginalized sectors of society;
    • Strengthen our organizations and capacities by arousing, organizing and mobilizing fellow youth and advocates; and
    • Join the wider indigenous peoples’ movements and social movements within and outside our respective nations to broaden our efforts and create greater impact.

    As the future leaders of our nations, we commit ourselves to fulfill the historic role of the youth in serving the interest of the oppressed and exploited masses and in intensifying the revolutionary fervor of the generations to come. For “only through militant struggle can the best in youth shall emerge.”

    With this Declaration, we, the delegates, shall realize our calling as vanguards of change. Together, we shall assert the respect and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities in affirmation of their merited right to self determination, toward overall peace in society that is based on social justice.

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    Source: Cordillera Peoples Alliance