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Indigenous peoples group applauds UN Expert’s call for urgent reforms in the Philippines

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) has expressed its support for the findings and recommendations made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Climate Change and Human Rights, Ian Fry, following his official 10-day visit to the Philippines. 

The UN expert shared his initial findings in a press conference held on November 15, addressing a range of issues, with a particular focus on the Philippine government’s actions against environmental defenders, civil society organizations, and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations.

One of the key recommendations put forth by Special Rapporteur Fry is the immediate disbandment of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). 

He also urged the repeal of the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL), the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women General Recommendations 39, major reforms to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Bill.

“These recommendations come timely when enforced disappearances, mass arrests and trumped up charges, and intensive military operations are ongoing non-stop with Indigenous Peoples being one of the primary targets of these attacks,” said Beverly Longid, co-convenor of IPMSDL.

Longid said some of the government institutions and laws “have long been weaponized against IP leaders, communities, organizations, and advocates”.

She said following Fry’s recent report, “IPMSDL will keep an eye on how major reforms will be immediately implemented by the Philippine government”.

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Longid said the UN envoy’s recent findings “should further amplify the alarming trend of criminalization, terrorist-tagging and attacks against Indigenous Peoples worldwide”.

She urged world leaders to take decisive action in upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples to defend their land, waters, resources, and territories.

“The exercise of their right to self-determination is not a criminal nor a terrorist act but ultimately a key climate solution,” she said. 

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