IP group backs call for peace

AN INTERNATIONAL indigenous group is backing the call for peace.

International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation global coordinator Beverly Longid said a solidarity statement will be sent to President Rodrigo duterte backing him in his call for peace.

"It is with glad hearts, then, that we welcome the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte to include our sister and brother indigenous peoples in the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines," Longid said.

Longid hopes the resumption of the peace talks will lead to a lessening and eventual disappearance of violations of civil and political rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.

“We also hope an agreement on economic, social and cultural rights be signed and the rights to self determination, land and life of indigenous peoples be upheld therein," added Longid.

Globally, Longid said IPs remain to be one of the most marginalized sectors in society and continues to face oppression and exploitation by uncaring governments and self-serving corporations.

"We are optimistic. We believe this peace process has a chance to work. But we also believe that others with vested interests will derail this peace process in order to deny not only indigenous peoples but also others their rights. Thus our optimism is also coupled with watchfulness to ensure that the derailment of the Philippine peace process will not come to pass," Longid added.

In the Philippines, the IPMDL research show 80 IPs victimized by extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the Philippine military and its para-military groups and 30,000 have been forced to leave their homes due to militarization.

The data also shows sexual assault and rape of indigenous women by military personnel have gone unpunished while 2000 indigenous youth have been forced to leave school due to government closure of indigenous schools.

"We enjoin our sisters and brothers in the Philippines to be vigilant in militantly asserting their collective rights to self-determination, as well as continue to support the rights of non-indigenous peoples as well. We must continue to assert and claim these rights, and strive to organize and educate more individuals and organizations on people’s issues. We call on all Indigenous Peoples and advocates of Indigenous Peoples rights all over the globe to support the peace process in the Philippines," Longid said.

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