In commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, let us declare our resolve to reclaim the future! Let the banner of our right to self-determination charter the path for a better tomorrow.
In the middle of the pandemic, it is timely and urgent that we call for an inclusive, just, and safe tomorrow – together with all the Indigenous Peoples (IP) and other sectors.
Let us reclaim our right to a self-determined and just future. The global system ruled by imperialist powers, defined by its plunderous and oppressive neoliberal policies, has long plagued the planet and people. Extractive industries, energy projects, agro-industrial plantations, and infrastructure projects in Indigenous communities remain incessant while the world grapples with the COVID-19 virus. The corrupt and deteriorating brand of “development” inherently promotes injustice by excluding a great majority of the peoples.
Indigenous communities remain in the margins when it comes to access to health and basic public services, land rights, and environmental conservation. Despite the recognition of their role as nature’s guardians and as civilization’s spring of culture, history, and knowledge, Indigenous Peoples remain among the poorest and most vulnerable sectors in society. Our goals for an inclusive society must aspire not just for access but an equal role for the minorities and marginalized in social protection, in policies on ancestral domains, and in steps to eliminate all forms of oppression and discrimination.
However, at present, inclusiveness, cooperation, and the right to dissent are challenged with the rise of authoritarian rule. IP organizations and human rights defenders are targeted for asserting their liberties and demanding for just social and economic reforms. Several states have also weaponized their COVID-19 response by intensifying militarization and enacting draconian laws that target critics instead of implementing a comprehensive medical plan to address the pandemic. This has also further enabled corporate plunder. As more IP leaders and activists are criminalized and murdered for their defense of lands and rights, we also move further in exacting accountability and justice while challenging repressive policies and programs that are under the guise of peace-keeping and national development.
The pandemic laid bare the horrid truth of social inequalities. It exposed unequal and inaccessible health care for IP and vulnerable sectors, and the deep-seated oppression in the destitute neoliberal system. As we struggle to keep our communities safe and healthy, let us also unite to strengthen our resistance against the virus of state terrorism, systemic discrimination, and capitalist plunder.
In celebrating IP Day, let us be inspired by how IP movements across the globe continue to advance despite the present limitations. Our international unity and solidarity shall be our weapon in facing the mammoth challenges that come our way. Together, we shall do away with the old, oppressive structures and march onward to claim our self-determination and liberation!#
Video was posted by the Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-determination and Liberation on August 12, 2020.