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In Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines

Voice stands in solidarity with Bantay Kita, the Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP), the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in expressing alarm over the Philippine government’s move to brand indigenous leaders, human rights defenders, and political activists as terrorists.

The Department of Justice filed a motion in the Manila Regional Trial Court last 21 FEB 2018 seeking to tag at least 600 individuals as terrorists under the Human Security Act of 2007. The list includes Joan Carling, the former secretary-general of AIPP, Victoria Corpuz-Tauli, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and other indigenous leaders. They are legitimate and lawful individuals advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples in the Philippines and around the world. If approved, the government can closely monitor their activities, track their finances, and restrict their access to other resources.

It is distressing to note how the inclusion of indigenous leaders in this list also negatively impacts the already narrowing civic space in the Philippines more broadly. It creates a chilling effect on civil society to gather with their peers, express their views, and assert their rights as part of a democratic society. The situation is further compounded by the continued harassment and killing of indigenous leaders across the country. Voice grantees working with indigenous peoples have already indicated concern for the safety and security of their staff and partners in the field.

Voice, as a grant facility, aims to empower the most marginalized and discriminated people, and amplify their voices in order to leave no one behind. We reaffirm our commitment to this objective and express support for indigenous peoples’ right to be heard and included without fear of reprisals from those in power.

Read the individual statements of Voice grantees:

Hivos has also released a statement expressing alarm about this development. Together with ARTICLE 19, they have issued a call to action urging the government to:

  • immediately rescind the list of alleged terrorists;
  • ensure the physical safety of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders; and
  • abide by State obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including access to justice, freedom of expression and freedom of association.

You can sign the petition to support this call.


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