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International Indigenous Youth Conference (IIYC)
April 17-21, 2002 Baguio City, Philippines
" What is the most precious thing to man? Life! If Life
is threatened, what ought a man to do? RESIST! This he must do,
otherwise he is dishonoured, and that is worse than death. If we
do not fight and the dam pushes through, we die anyway. If we fight,
we die honourably, I exhort you all then - FIGHT!
So said Macliing Dulag, one of the many martyrs of the Cordillera
struggle for ancestral land and self-determination in the Phillipines.
He was leader of the Cordillera peoples who opposed the building
of the Chico Dam project during the regime of the former dictator
Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. He was assassinated by the military in 1982.
Eighty three participants of the International Indigenous Youth
Conference came together at this historic gathering of indigenous
youth from around the world to share our experiences and forge a
common voice in responding to the challenges of globalisation.
We represent indigenous youth of the colonial borders of Australia,
Fiji Islands, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama,
Canada, United States, Finland, Norway, Russia, Bangladesh, Burma,
India, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines. The conference was hosted
by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance -Youth Commission under the theme
"Building Solidarity Among Indigenous Youth in Asserting Indigenous
Peoples' Rights Amidst Globalisation."
We learned a lot from our hosts, a country up to its eyeballs in
debt to the World Bank and IMF, where development has not solved
poverty. For indigenous peoples development means that we can expect
our rivers to be poisoned, our traditional ways and economies ravished
and our methods of survival destroyed leaving us dependant on the
state, just how they want us. The strategies of destruction and
assimilation of indigenous peoples are the same worldwide; divide
the community, destroy the resources, assimilate the culture and
then use what's left to boost tourism for the country. Culture becomes
a commodity of the dominant or colonising society.
However to enforce these policies and objectives of assimilation
and eradication governments are often engaged in military occupations
and conflicts with indigenous people or territory is militarised
as a by-product of capitalist aggression. US troops in response
to the 'War Against Terrorism' have been reintroduced in the south
of the Philippines in co-operation and in exchange for military
spending with the president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her government.
The people suspect that the US is using the Abu Sayef as a justification
for US imperialism, to get their foot in the door in Asia and to
strip the resources in this country. Accompanying the deployment
of US troops is human rights abuses, sexual exploitation of women,
corruption and the persecution of activists and advocates of democracy.
Recently a young woman on a fact-finding mission in the south with
human rights group Karapatan was killed by government forces
who accused her of being a part of the New Peoples Army (armed guerrilla
Every day indigenous people and people who speak out for justice
for all are being killed or silenced, and our land from Russia to
Canada to the Philippines and everywhere is being expropriated for
capitalist profit at the cost of our lives, traditional ways, and
our subsistence economies. It is time to unite our struggle against
corporate and government policies that put the rights of profit
ahead of the rights of people.
. To firmly stand to assert our right to self-determination and
to the full recognition of our inherent rights as indigenous peoples
. To fight mega-infrastructure projects that result in the economic,
environmental, and physical displacement of our communities
. To continuously advocate existing laws that uphold our collective
human rights and to mobilise against laws and institutions which
do not serve our needs or justice, such as the World Bank, IMF and
. To revive our culture, languages, spiritual values and traditional
structures of governance
. To affirm and uphold the rightful status of women as equal in
society, family, the workplace and the movement for social transformation
. To expose, oppose and condemn the Imperialist and US State led
wars of Aggression, which target the world's poor
. To strengthen the solidarity of indigenous youth against all
forms of colonisation, foreign, domestic hegemony and state repression
. To unite with all the oppressed classes and sectors of the world
and actively participate in international actions
. To link with other socially progressive movements that work to
. To establish concrete forms of organisational formation by building
region wide networks
. To join all forms of struggle to end all forms of oppression,
racism and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples
. To call upon the United Nations and States of the world to recognise
and adopt in full the Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Rights in
it's original text.
. To assert the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and
informed consent over all issues concerning them