Our commitment: Secure territorial rights for Indigenous Peoples

Monday, 10th July 2017

Asia is home to more than half of the world’s population, where about 260 million indigenous peoples are spreading throughout the continent, making it the most culturally diverse region in the world. 

Asian indigenous peoples face problems such as denial of self-determination, the loss of control over their land and natural resources, discrimination and marginalization, heavy assimilation pressure and violent repression by state security forces. Several countries have legislations that to some extent protect the right s of indigenous peoples. These rights are, however, systematically watered down, often simply ignored or overruled. (source: International work group of Indigenous Affairs).

It is for this reason, and others, as part of the International Land Coalition’s (ILC) Commitment Based Initiatives (CBIs), an event took place this June under the theme, Our commitment: Secure territorial rights for indigenous peoples’. Organized during 27- 28 June 2017 in Dhulikhel, Nepal, by the ILC Asia members, this event aimed to ‘increase the capacity of indigenous peoples and civil society organizations and networks in Asia for advocacy of indigenous peoples’ land rights through sharing and learning about the participatory community mapping initiative’.

The specific focus of the workshop was mainly to share experiences on Participatory Community Mapping initiatives used effectively in the ILC members’ countries as a mean to secure the indigenous territories, traditional knowledge, and customary governance of land and access to natural resources. The participants were encouraged to share lesson learnt and challenges they encountered during the journey, specifically those related to participatory community mapping, targeting to secure land rights of the Indigenous Peoples. An opportunity was also opened for them to formulate some collective resolution, to be brought home and implemented in their countries.

 

As a kick off toward the Regional Assembly, the members met in a planning meeting convened after the workshop, to pave the road in reaching further plan to be implemented. The logical framework was reviewed and appropriate changes were made by mutual understanding among all participating members, as collective way to enhance the effort in securing the territorial rights for the Indigenous Peoples.

United For Land Rights

This event was a collective work of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), together with the Consortium for Land Research and Policy Dialogue (COLARP), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), Bharatiya Jana Sewa Ashram (BJSA) and Society for Development of Drought Prone Area (SDDPA). They worked and built relaxed yet productive atmosphere by also involving representatives from seven countries in Asia Region; Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Nepal. Beyond than that, the national level donor agencies in Nepal, UN-HABITAT, OXFAM and Habitat for Humanity were actively on board in this meaningful workshop.


News source: COLARP

Photo credit by COLARP