IPs’ displacement cited in report on violation of indigenous rights in UNHRC session


16 July 2019

The state of indigenous peoples’ (IP) rights in the Philippines was cited during a session on the rights of IPs at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) event in Geneva, Switzerland.

Delivered by Task Force on Indigenous Peoples executive director Jacqueline Cariño during the 12th Session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) on July 15, the Asia Caucus’ statement touched on borders, IPs’ forest rights and traditional livelihoods, as well as migration and displacement throughout Asia.

The report mentioned the Kaliwa Dam project as an example of the alleged non-recognition of IPs’ rights in Asian countries, including the Philippines, in favor of dams, mining, energy, logging, plantations and tourism projects.

“For example in the Philippines, 117 dams are in the pipeline under the government’s Build Build Build program. The Kaliwa Dam alone will displace 1,400 indigenous Dumagat families and affect more than 100,000 people,” the statement read.

The Philippines was also cited—together with Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar—on the issue of large-scale mining operations that have resulted in the “dislocation of thousands of families.”

The report also said that militarization and combat operations by State military, police, paramilitary groups and private armed forces are used to repress local resistance “against destructive development projects.”

“As a result, wide-scale displacement and violations of our civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are committed, including criminalization of legitimate actions of the communities to defend their rights,” the statement read.

“In the Philippines, as of July 2018, 77 incidents of bakwit or forced evacuation of Lumad indigenous peoples due to militarization have displaced more than half a million (577,161) individuals,” it added.

Established by the UNHRC in 2007, the EMRIP provides the council with “expertise and advice on the rights of indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and assists Member States, upon request, in achieving the ends of the Declaration through the promotion, protection and fulfillment of the rights of indigenous peoples.”

This year’s EMRIP session started on July 15 and will run through July 19.

Recently, the UNHRC voted to set up an investigation into the thousands of killings in President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. — Joviland Rita/BM, GMA News