Indigenous peoples suffer under global plunder

COMMISSION 10: Rights of Indigenous Peoples, National Minoroties & Nationalities for Self-determination and Decolonization

The Dayaks, indigenous peoples of Sarawak, have cultivated thousands of hectares of land for generations. Today, large oil palm plantation companies in collusion with the local and Federal Government of Malaysia threaten their very existence.

In the Philippines, large-scale mining, bioethanol projects, dams and other development aggression displace thousands of indigenous peoples in different parts of the country. In Cordillera region alone, nearly a million hectares or 51 percent of the land area is covered by licensed operations and pending applications of mining transnational corporations (TNCs). These operations encroach upon ancestral domain of indigenous peoples.

Elsewhere in Asia, indigenous peoples/national minorities suffer from denial of their rights to ancestral lands, territories, and resources. Often, states refuse to recognize their collective socio-cultural and political systems/customary laws.

There are at least 200 million indigenous peoples in Asia, comprising two-third of the world’s total IP population. Discriminated, they have the lowest literacy level, lesser access to health and education services, lesser access to electricity, communication, water facilities, etc and have higher incidents of poverty based on national poverty line standards.

In the era of globalization, land and natural resources, especially those within the ancestral domain, are rapidly treated as commodities, privatized and controlled by a few big landlords and big capitalist business interests, often in collusion with governments. Globalization accelerated the intrusion of large-scale resource-extractive ventures and so-called development projects into their ancestral lands and territories.

These include: large-scale mining operations; agricultural mono-crop and biofuel plantations; commercial logging, agroforestry and industrial tree plantations; commercial fishing; oil and gas exploration and development; special economic zones and export processing zones; military reservations and bases; large dams and energy-generation facilities; and infrastructure development such as oil and gas pipelines, roads, ports and transportation networks.

National minorities are also denied of their right to self governance and cultural integrity. In some instances, there have been outright prohibitions on the practice of customary laws, desecration of their sacred places, etc. Some are exploited for eco-tourism through commercialization/bastardization of their indigenous cultures.

For defending their ancestral domain, indigenous peoples are subjected to various forms of repression including heavy military operations in their communities, illegal arrests and detention of their leaders and even killings of activists.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) fights for the rights of indigenous peoples, national minorities, oppressed nationalities and nations for self-determination.

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