26 January, 2020

Ensuring Fulfillment of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the Implementation of the SDGs

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August 9-11, 2017

Harnessing Resources and Knowledge for Indigenous Peoples’ Development


On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the 20th year of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (RA 8371), we, 103 indigenous men, women and youth from 39 indigenous peoples’ groups from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have gathered at the University of the Philippines, Quezon City from August 8-10, 2017 to celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

We are indigenous peoples with collective rights to our lands, territories and resources as enshrined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Our intrinsic relationship to our lands, territories and resources has shaped our knowledge systems, identities, culture, spirituality and informed our worldview that is integrated and holistic.

We reiterate that we have contributed and continue to contribute to sustainable development as stewards of the remaining biological and cultural diversity, sustained by our indigenous knowledge and customary governance on resource use and management, practices and innovations.

We assert that sustainable development is underpinned by recognition, protection and fulfillment of indigenous peoples’ rights and self-determined development.

However, 20 years since the adoption of the IPRA, and ten years after the ratification of the UNDRIP, we continue to lose our lands, territories and resources, are unable to fully access basic social services, are subjected to various forms of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and displacements, threats to our leaders and other atrocities perpetrated by government and paramilitary forces, rebels and other armed groups remain unresolved, as a result of our experiences of historical discrimination and marginalization.

We, indigenous peoples are victims of war and of peace as we are unwilling hosts to armed conflicts that are not ours and yet, we have never been part of the peace negotiations. This is aggravated by the non-recognition and non-respect of our traditional conflict resolution processes and systems and the declaration of Martial law in Mindanao. All of these conflicts are directly linked to counter-insurgency operations and the encroachment of mining companies, agri-business corporations and large hydro-electric dams among others.

Many national policies and programs, which are incoherent and culturally inappropriate, continue to worsen our already difficult situations. While there are laws and programs with good intentions, there remains a gap in effective implementation on the ground. Our right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is continuously manipulated, violated and undermined. The Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) process is tedious, expensive, complicated and problematic and does not guarantee land tenure security.


Based on the current situation of our IP communities, our priorities and proposed strategies with necessary support, are presented below based on thematic areas, as follows:

1.     Peace and Justice

Peace is a precondition for our development and peace can only be achieved with our full and effective participation in the peace process as rights holders.  Genuine peace may only be achieved when it is grounded on human rights. We organized ourselves to be able to meaningfully engage as an independent voice and observer for peace negotiation panel. We call for the government to recognize the IP- created peace panel and mainstream it into the process.

We call for the IPRA to be reflected in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and inclusion of IP-selected representatives on the BTC.

We call for the withdrawal of all armed groups from our communities and fully support the call for an immediate and binding ceasefire between the government and revolutionary groups. We demand the demilitarization of our communities and removal of all military camps and detachments therein.

Stop extrajudicial killings of IPs asserting the right to oppose development projects that lead to the deprivation of lands and resources. We demand justice and indemnification to all victims.

We call for the recognition and support for the strengthening of our customary governance, justice systems and traditional peace processes and mechanisms.


Download full statement here.

(click image to enlarge)