Lumads present government’s violations of IP rights to UN committee

Jul. 01, 2008

Matigsalug evacuees from Compostela presented their case to a United Nations body to highlight the continuing violations of indigenous peoples’ rights committed by the government.

The presentation was part of Mindanao-wide consultation held on June 16 to 17 in Davao City in preparation for a “shadow report” to the United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination (UNCERD).

The UNCERD is a committee that monitors member countries including the Philippines with regard to their obligations to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. There are 162 countries that have ratified the Convention. These countries, which include the Philippines, are legally bound to uphold the rights protected in the convention, including those of indigenous peoples’.

The Mindanao-wide consultation organized by Lumad (indigenous) groups and allied organizations will consolidate facts about recent violations against indigenous peoples’ rights such as the military operations in Southern Mindanao and in Surigao del Sur that have displaced more than a thousand.

A consultation was also conducted in Baguio City for the indigenous from Luzon and Visayas earlier this month.

Apart from militarization, these consultations tackle how mining operations in the ancestral domains of indigenous peoples and other government programs and projects impact indigenous peoples rights to self determination, free prior and informed consent (FPIC), lands, territories and natural resources, livelihood, education, health and other social services. Suggested recommendations to the committee and the government for the proper redress of their grievances are also formulated.

The cases presented will be consolidated into an indigenous peoples CERD shadow report – a document that non-government organizations and Lumad organizations prepare in parallel to the Philippine government report. This will be submitted to the UNCERD.

The UN body meets twice a year to review the performance of each member-state under the UNCERD. Each member-state is required to submit their report to the committee at least once every four years. The Philippines, however, has not submitted any report to the committee for the last eleven years. In 2007, the ICERD committee instructed the Philippine government to submit a report on or before June 30, 2008 or else face a review of its record based on other information available to CERD.

The most recent complaint was made by the Subanon tribe from Mt. Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte last year. The Lumads reported that their rights were violated by the mining company Toronto Ventures, Inc. The report prompted the UNCERD to invoke its urgent action procedure against the Philippine government.

Under this procedure, the government is prompted to explain why it failed to protect the Subanon people’s rights and allowed mining operations to take place on their sacred mountain without their consent.

The UN body also told the government that it was concerned that the Subanon case is illustrative of violations of the right of indigenous communities throughout the Philippines.

The shadow report consultations are sponsored by Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Monitor, Kalumaran Mindanao, Tebtebba, Philippine Indigenous People’s Links, Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Anthrowatch-, and EED Task Force on IP Rights and Irish Center for Human Rights, with support from the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs.#

For reference:

Atty. Manja Bayang

National Coordinator

Indigenous Peoples Rights Monitor

IMPORTANT NOTICE: INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to davaotoday @ Davao Today is not responsible for the content of these materials. The opinion expessed in these items does not reflect those of Davao Today and its staff. Please refer to our terms of use/disclaimer.

comments powered by Disqus