IMPHAL, August 8: The Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) in collaboration with Volunteers for Village Development (VVD) had stated that the World Indigenous Peoples Day will be observed at Ukhrul on August 10 amidst the prevailing restrictive legal environment in Ukhrul town.
According to a joint statement, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on August 9 every year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous populations since 1994.
The representatives of NPMHR, VVD and all other participating civil society organizations had jointly stood up to expressed their growing concerns over the increasing attempts to trample over the rights of indigenous peoples, control over their lands and natural resources in the local and global stages.
It said organisations working on the issue set the framework for a sustainable future based on own strengths; cultural and natural resources on the occasion of WIP, 2014.
At the international level this event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make in protecting Earth’s environment which has come under serious threats from the extractive and destructive development programs being pursued by a global alliance of developed countries through legislations, finance and advance technologies.
Growing concerns over climate change and threats to human survival over the recent past have stressed the importance of indigenous peoples’ participation in shaping the world order and redefining sustainable development in the international community.
While upholding the magnanimity of the international community for the UN landmark declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples in 2007 (UNDRIP) which made the principle of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) mandatory in the development programs on the part of member states in line with the ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the joint organisations also recognize growing threats over and violation of the rights of indigenous people in their home country, India.
The organisations stand to pay their deepest respects to all the freedom fighters of different indigenous communities in Manipur and elsewhere who gave their lives for their rights even when they were separated from one another, in order to gather their strengths together, it said.
The organisation further stated that they took exceptions on India’s growing thrush for becoming one of leading economies in the South East Asian region while conveniently abandoning socialist ideology. This would pave the way for corporate world taking over land and natural resources that belong to the indigenous communities.
Crucial in this project are also the role of communication, media, social media, power sector, academia, for they have tended to support privatization of India’s mountains, rivers and forests in the name of India’s “progress”, extracting resources under security cover; militarizing civil space; labeling struggles of indigenous people as the “single-largest security challenge in India”.
Declaring war on indigenous peoples by enacting extraordinary laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) giving the army legal immunity and the right to kill “on suspicion” in Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland in the name of “creating a good investment climate”; aggressively pushing for 168 big dams in the militarized North eastern region for meeting its growing hunger for power; setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZ), a self-governed corporate “industrial parks, townships and mega-cities” in indigenous people’s lands under the new government’s national policy on ‘Right to Development’ at the expanse of Right-based Approach of post-2015 global agenda for sustainable development, recent steps taken by the National Govt to hand over ‘inviolate areas’ of the indigenous peoples
to the corporate companies, are just some instances of this, the release said.
The Govt of India as an active agent of global neo-liberal economy regime since 1990 is pushing its development aggressions into the indigenous people’s domain while conveniently sideling international human rights/ IP rights treaties, to wilfully discriminate against, disenfranchise and alienate indigenous peoples from their lands and resources. It continues to be an ongoing struggle for indigenous people in India, it said.
The organisations endorsed the findings that extractive development model contributes to poverty, inequality, ecological destruction, and human rights violations – by definition it is unsustainable and non-renewable. This model entrenches and reinforces power imbalances between nations, and contributes to poverty, violence, armed conflicts and militarization in its host countries which caused significant environmental damage, pollution, and destruction, it continued.
The committee also resolved to re-examine development policies and programs by using frameworks such as ‘Do no harm to eradicate root causes of poverty adoption of People as rights-holders; Sustainability as the yardstick as we stand in solidarity with various civil society groups and rights activities who are engaged in protesting against the aggressive extractive industrial activities in Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Jiribam pursued by our own elected government in the state’, it said.