Stop the criminalization of Indigenous activists and human rights defenders!
Uphold human rights and international humanitarian law!
The Mining Justice Alliance (MJA) joins the international community and peace-loving citizens in its call to stop the unfounded, criminalizing attacks of police, military and local government officials and authorities in the Cordillera region, on the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and its communities.
We are aware that in recent months, the police, military, and local government officials and authorities in the Cordillera have increasingly and without just cause, undertaken to criminalize and vilify the CPA. This has included initiatives at local legislative bodies from the barangay to provincial levels to declare the CPA persona no grata, and the filing of a cyber libel case against NorDis online media staff. The attacks have escalated into actual arrest and detention with the arrest of women leader Betty Belen and the raid of houses in Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga. Meanwhile, red-tagging and vilification of the CPA continues on social media.
CPA is an independent federation of progressive peoples organizations, most of them grassroots-based organizations among Indigenous communities in the Cordillera Region Philippines. CPA is committed to the promotion and defense of Indigenous peoples’ rights, human rights, social justice, and national freedom and democracy.
CPA has gained national and international recognition for its staunch defense of
Indigenous peoples’ rights. It received the Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan in 2009 and the International Eco Water Award from the Government of South Korea in 2014. Some of its leaders like Petra Macliing, Joanna Cariño and Joan Carling received international recognition for being champions of environment and human rights defense. These awards are a testament to the exemplary work and legitimacy of the CPA.
We strongly condemn the arrest and detention of Betty Belen, a member of Innabuyog-Gabriela, the regional women’s alliance affiliated to CPA and who has been championing Indigenous women’s rights and the protection of the environment. We demand for her immediate release.
We denounce the red-tagging and vilification of Indigenous rights defenders. Unfounded attacks on the legitimacy of people’s organizations like the Cordillera
Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) signals the intensifying curtailment of its fundamental
democratic rights and freedoms.
We believe that these attacks are aimed to not only discredit the long record of CPA and its leaders in serving the people but also to silence organizations and individuals from raising legitimate issues and concerns. These acts are in violation of the Philippine government’s obligations to human rights, international humanitarian law and international agreements, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Mining Justice Alliance (MJA) supports the just struggle of the Filipino people
for a peaceful society. Long live international solidarity!