Indigenous peoples and human rights

Published by rudy Date posted on August 15, 2009

The Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) held a send-off lunch for Filipino indigenous peoples (IPs) leaders who left for Geneva, Switzerland last week to participate in the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination hearing on a complaint filed against the Philippine government by the Subanon community. ATM is an advocacy group and a people’s movement that upholds the rights of the present and future Filipinos against the persisting injustices related to mining. The three IP leaders are asserting that their rights to the ancestral domains have been violated, and that the actions of the Philippine government, particularly the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples have been adverse against them.

Timuay Jose Boy Anoy, one of the tribal leaders, is the rightful owner of ancestral land in Mount Canatuan. The Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title was personally given to him by President Gloria Arroyo but he has been ejected from his own land by TVI Resources Development Inc.

Timuay Noval Lambo, chief elder of the Subanon Council of Seven Rivers in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Peter Duyapat, president of the Didipio Earth Savers Movement Association belonging to the Ifugao community from Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, have also been ejected from their own domains.

According to the Subanon tribal leader, Timuay Anoy, the commission on indigenous peoples facilitated the formation of a bogus tribal council in connivance with TVI, a Canadian mining company currently doing operations in their ancestral land. Furthermore, Timuay Anoy said that there was no genuine free and prior informed consent given to the mining operations and that their customs, traditions, and beliefs have been disrespected by no less than the government. According to Timuay Lambo, the government must tell the truth and should be held accountable because their report states that there was no discrimination against IPs.

The name Subanon means “river people,” which is derived from the word “suba” or river. The Subanon, also known in the Anglicized form as “Subanen,” is a tribe indigenous to the Zamboanga Peninsula area, particularly living in the mountainous areas of Zamboanga del Sur and Misamis Occidental. As the name implies, these people originally lived along riverbanks in the lowlands, however due to disturbances and competition from other settlers, these peace-loving tribe now reside in the mountains.

Duyapat, whose community is impacted by an Australian mining company, OceanaGold, said that the company has been abusing the rights of the indigenous community through militarization, displacement and loss of livelihood. He will raise complaints about their community’s situation in Geneva and demand that the real spirit of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act should be implemented and genuine FPIC be sought.

The World Indigenous Peoples Day is observed on August 9 every year. There are 12 million IPs in the Philippines and the three IP leaders who went to Geneva will speak up, tell their stories and demand that the government heed their call for their right to self-determination; and the United Nations to urge and pressure the Republic of the Philippines to address justly, without discrimination, the issues of land rights, militarization, access to justice and protection of indigenous beliefs and practices.

ATM will support the initiative of these IP leaders to explore and maximize international venues where they can assert their rights to pursue the protection and enrichment of their indigenous cultures. The ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of non-government organizations/public organizations and other civil society organizations convened by environmental conservation organization Haribon, Legal Rights and Natural Resources-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines and Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a body of independent experts, which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties. The Philippine government, having ratified the convention is obliged to regularly report to the committee on how it is being implemented. However, the government has failed in the required regular reporting since 1998. –Manila Times

April – Month of Planet Earth

“Full speed to renewables!”


Solidarity with CTU Myanmar,
trade unions around the world,
for democracy in Myanmar,
with the daily protests of
people in Myanmar against
the military coup and
continuing oppression.


Accept National Unity Government
(NUG) of Myanmar.
Reject Military!

#WearMask #WashHands

Time to support & empower survivors.
Time to spark a global conversation.
Time for #GenerationEquality to #orangetheworld!
Trade Union Solidarity Campaigns
Get Email from NTUC
Article Categories