Panaghiusa welcomes UNSR expert; hopes to pressure the state to #StopTheAttacks vs. IP
The Panaghiusa Philippine Network to Uphold Indigenous Peoples Rights welcomes the arrival of the United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on Promotion and Protection Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Ms. Irene Khan. Her visit will last from 23 January to 2 February 2024.
As part of her special mandate, the UN expert will assess the state of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression in the country. It includes the policy and legal framework and the safety of the members of mass media, Indigenous peoples’ rights advocates, and civic society organizations in the country.
“Attacks on Indigenous Peoples have intensified through the collaboration of NCIP and NTF-ELCAC. It is important to remember that retired military officer Allen Capuyan served as the executive director of NTF-ELCAC, with NCIP as its lead implementer of the government’s 'whole-of-nation' counterinsurgency plan, and centered its efforts on Indigenous Peoples communities.” Beverly Longid, Co-convenor of Panaghiusa Philippine Network and national convenor of Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas said in an earlier statement released this month.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), created by Executive Order 70, and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 are two government measures that target and silence Indigenous Peoples. These policies are being used to designate Indigenous Peoples (IP) as terrorists when they are only voicing their dissent against encroachment on their ancestral domains, and insisting on their demands for recognition and genuine development. As a result, many IPs are criminalized, kidnapped, and killed.
A prevalent infringement of Indigenous communities' right to free speech is also through the manipulation of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) process, especially in mining and energy projects in ancestral domains.
Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders, and advocates are hoping that Ms. Irene Khan's visit will bring out the truth about the situation of their right to freedom of expression and opinion. May her findings put pressure on the government to cease its relentless attacks on the rights of the IPs.
Communications and Networking Officer
Panaghiusa Philippine Network to Uphold Indigenous Peoples' Rights