Press Release: IP Groups to hold Asia IP Workshop on Energy, Extractives and Human Rights in Sagada

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Sixty (60) delegates from at least nine countries will be participating in the Asia Regional Workshop on extractives, energy and human rights to be held on 21-22 April 2014 in Sagada, Mountain Province. The workshop is organized by local and international indigenous peoples (IP) networks to consolidate the general situation of and forge stronger solidarity and support among indigenous communities in the region.

The workshop is jointly organized by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), the Philippine Task Force on Indigenous Peoples (TFIP), the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA), Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE) and the Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders (IPHRD) Network.

The activity is in response to the alarming reports of continuing human rights violations and non-recognition of individual and collective IP rights across Asia. With the world’s remaining natural resources located in indigenous territories, the IP remain the most gravely affected by the intensifying global economic pressure for the exploitation of these resources.

Extractive and commercial industries and projects, such as large-scale mining of minerals, oil and gas, corporate energy projects, logging and commercial mono-crop plantations, are among the most urgent threats facing the IP in Asia and around the world. These have resulted to the continuing displacement, loss of subsistence economies, livelihood and culture, and harmful health effects to indigenous communities.

In addition, brutal human rights violations escalate as government and private security forces are used to quell and silence local opposition to these projects. In the Cordillera, the most recent victim is William Bugatti of the Ifugao Peoples Movement who was assassinated on March 25, 2014 by suspected elements of the military. The Ifugao Peoples Movement has been instrumental to the continuing opposition against the Chevron geothermal energy project in Tinoc, Ifugao.

Although the approval of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the UN General Assembly in 2007marked a significant victory for the struggle of  indigenous peoples worldwide, recognition and respect for indigenous rights in many countries in Asia remain weak and underdeveloped until today. The UNDRIP increases the pressure for corporations and governments to improve and comply with standards that respect IP rights, yet reports from the ground have shown otherwise.

Thus, the Workshop aims to share information and updates on country and thematic case studies to consolidate the general situation of indigenous peoples across Asia in relation to extractive industries and energy. Further, it aims to build solidarity and support to the struggles for land and other specific campaigns of indigenous peoples. Moreover, the Workshop aims to formulate a general plan of action among the participating organizations for the assertion of the IP rights to land and self-determination.

The AIPNEE was established by indigenous peoples across Asia on March 2013 in Malaysia to serve as a regional platform for solidarity and support for indigenous communities affected by State and corporate projects implemented in their territories. AIPNEE has linked with the Indigenous Peoples Global Network on Extractive Industries and aims to unite with other existing initiatives to highlight and assert the promotion of indigenous peoples’ rights and concerns.

References:

Ms. Beverly Longid, AIPNEE

Ms. Sarah Dekdeken, CPA