Khmer Krom: Oral Intervention at the WGIP on Utilization of Indigenous Peoples Lands by Non-Indigen
Asian Indigenous Caucus Statement
Agenda Item: 4 (b), Utilization of Indigenous Peoples Lands by Non-Indigenous Authority, Groups or Individuals for Military Purposes
By Mr. Famark Hlawnching
On behalf of Asian Indigenous Peoples Caucus
This is a joint statement on behalf of the Asian Indigenous Peoples Caucus, I would like to take this opportunity to express our congratulations for your election of Chairperson for this Working Group. I would also like to say thank you for choosing the theme for this Working Group, which was proposed by the Asia Indigenous Caucus in 2004.
In the case of Asian indigenous peoples, militarization in indigenous territory is the main problem; utilization of indigenous peoples lands for military purposes is merely a predicament.
Therefore, I would like to draw your attention to militarization in indigenous territories in Asia, which is increasing at an alarming rate and threatening the existence and survival of indigenous peoples. In fact, militarization in indigenous territories is the root cause of human rights violations against indigenous peoples.
In order to freely militarize and utilize indigenous peoples lands, resources, and territories, the governments enact laws, or issue decrees and orders for legal protection, that result in impunity for perpetrators. In the Philippines, extrajudicial killings are increasing. More than 70 indigenous leaders have been so killed by this adminstration. Two Cordillera Peoples Alliance leaders have been killed in two months. Marshall Law is still imposed in some provinces where indigenous peoples live in Thailand. Similar law was also imposed in Nepal after February 2005, and though there is a cease-fire, there is still a need to bring the military under the full authority of the new Constitution.
In the Philippines the Lomad people find themselves to be victims of peace negotiations between the government and the Moro forces. Indigenous territories in Burma are classified as "Black Areas" in which scorch earth policy is applied, and a shoot-on-sight order is still valid in these areas. The Arms Force Special Power Act is enforced in most states of North-East India. US army camps in Okinawa Islands are established in accordance with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Presidential decrees such as "Darurat Sipil and Darurat Militer" in Indonesia facilitates not only the militarization but also the confiscation of indigenous lands.
Militarization in Chittagong Hill Tracts is conducted under the name of "Operation Uttoron"(Uplifhment). Similar conditions also prevail in East Asia. In Vietnam, the Khmer Krom peoples have survived genocide, gross human rights violations and even torture at the hands of Vietnamese military.
Sacred homelands are confiscated and then protected by the military not allowing indigenous peoples to exercise their right of self-determination. Many indigenous peoples outside Asia are also suffering the militarization in their territories.
Due to the above mentioned laws, decrees and orders:
â€¢ Thousands of women were raped and rape has been used as a weapon of war.
â€¢There are over 1500 mine victims a year.
â€¢ Porters are used as human minesweepers and human shields during military operation.
â€¢ The number of internally displaced persons is estimated to range between one to two million.
â€¢ Hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples children are recruited in the regular army and sent to conventional war.
â€¢Hundreds of thousands are forced to labor.
â€¢ Sacred sites such as temples are destroyed by military forces leading to cultural genocide
â€¢ An estimated 600,000 refugees currently live in their neighboring countries.
â€¢ Thousands and thousands of acres of indigenous lands are confiscated to build training centers, camps, and other military purposes without any compensation.
â€¢Extra-judiciary killing is profoundly rampaging in conflict areas.
â€¢ Indigenous peoples face extreme cases of brutal murder beyond belief such as the drowning in Kompong Toteung River and being gathered and locked into rice granaries then being burned alive in Pol Leav and Khleang.
In accordance with the recently adopted DD by the Human Right Council, I quote PP10:
Emphasizing the contribution of the demilitarization of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples to peace, economic and social progress and development, understanding and friendly relations among nations and peoples of the world, (end quote)
The Asia Caucus recommends that the WGIP:
1. Shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, a study on "identification of laws, decrees and orders that facilitate to freely militarize and utilize indigenous peoples lands, territories, and resources, and its impact on indigenous peoples by imposing such draconian laws, decrees, and orders in the concerned indigenous territories. Its report shall be freely available to all as a UN official document.
2. Shall urge governments to immediately abolish the aforesaid draconian laws, decrees and orders. Indeed, these draconian laws completely contradict existing international human rights standards.
3. Shall focus attention-through a specific study and in setting the future agenda of the WGIP and Human Rights Council-on the issue of indigenous peoples religious freedom and upon the use and abuse of our sacred sites and respected places. All sacred sites of ancestors should be mapped and protected for the spiritual survival of indigenous peoples in Asia.
Recognizing that good governance, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights are essential to achieve sustainable peace and development,
We call on all member states of the UN to adopt the recently adopted DD by Human Rights Council in the forth coming UNGA in which we underline that the states shall strictly respect OP article 28 and 28 bis.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.