22 August 2018
Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples Leaders!
Indigenous communities suffer another record murder tally amidst the International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples celebration. Known Indigenous Peoples (IP) rights activists – Rolando Crispin Lopez (Mexico), Juana Raymundo (Guatemala), Yandong Menyo (Philippines) and Jorginho Guajajara (Brazil) – fell prey to a murderous system operated by imperialist powers and its repressive agents which have great economic interests in ancestral lands of IP. The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) calls for an international condemnation against the growing trend of harassments, criminalization, and killings with impunity of Indigenous rights defenders and communities in defense of land, territory, and way of life.
Mexico’s spike in crime continues to threaten human rights activists. Last July 22, after finishing his duty as a community police, Crispin was gunned down by a suspected municipal police officer. This assasination was attributed to his record and reputation as a staunch IP rights defender in their community. Crispin was a member of the Assembly of Indigenous People of the Istmo in Defense of Land and Territory (Apiitdtt), the Peoples’ Assembly of the Juchiteco People (APPJ), and the Peoples’ Assembly of Alvaro Obregon in Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico. As a community police, a community-led initiative and self-defense measure against transnational companies (TNCs) and corrupt officials, he had suffered constant harassment and intimidation from entities which try to occupy the Santa Teresa territory of Indigenous Binniza community to develop the wind energy project.
Meanwhile in Guatemala, Juana Raymundo was brutally killed at the night of July 28. Bearing signs of torture, Raymundo’s body was discovered near a river in Nebaj and Acambalam. Raymundo, an indigenous Mayan Ixil human rights activist, lived as nurse at a health center, a regional coordinator of Committee of Campesino Development (Codeca) and a local council of Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples. Her organization has been critical of the attacks by the government and elites to human rights and environmental activists, and protested against mining and hydroelectric projects destructive of Guatemalan natural resources.
In August 10, a Lumad Higaonon leader Yandong Menyo was gunned down by elements of 8th Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army in Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines. Yandong used to work with Pigyayonggaan, an Indigenous community organization that leads the campaign against monocrop plantations and extractive mining projects in Northern Mindanao. Higaonon communities have forcibly evacuated and camped in front of provincial capitol since June, demanding the pull-out of military encampment that protects the invasion of extractive and agribusiness companies.
Another IP rights activist fell victim to the wave of violence against Guajajara peoples of Amazon in Brazil last August 12, when the dead body of tribal leader Jorginho Guajajara was discovered near a river in Maranhao. Suspected powerful logging mafia has repeatedly targeted Jorginho and his tribe for their work as ‘Guardians of Amazon.’ The Guardians are internationally acclaimed local environmental team protecting the eastern edge of Amazon rainforest, expelling loggers and protecting uncontacted neighboring tribe of Awa. Since 2000, at least 80 tribe members have been killed by logging mafia with close ties to local and national politicians.
The world-wide offensive against IP leaders, rights defenders, and communities is an orchestrated oppression and systematic suppression of our struggle for self-determination and liberation against local and transnational companies that encroach and grab our lands and liberties under the banner of imperialist conquest. The inutile action of States and governments to give justice to its peoples reveal their subservience to imperialist powers even extending military, security, and legal support to attack its dissenting citizens and fast-track plunder of natural resources.
The intensified plunder on ancestral lands and heightened attacks against IP right defenders and communities demand that we continue to stand stronger and unified in defense of our rights, land, and self-determination. We enjoin everyone to hold accountable the culprits behind the gruesome killings of IP leaders as well as rights violations committed against our communities. We call on the international community, Indigenous communities, and IP rights advocates to join us in our call to stop the attacks and imperialist war against IP defenders and communities struggling to advance the right for self-determination!
Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples Leaders!
Resist Corporate Plunder And Greed!
Fight Imperialist War Of Agression!
Activism Not Terrorism!
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org