Statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
In 2020, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples takes place against the backdrop of a deadly pandemic that has exacted a terrible toll on the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities who inhabit and defend forests and other natural resources in the tropical forest regions of Indonesia and the countries of Africa and Latin America.
Under siege from the deadly COVID-19 virus and forgotten by governments that are failing us, we denounce that the lack of policies is actually a policy, whose objectives are to get rid of our peoples, because we are often the last line of defense against the offensive of greed and corruption that rob our territories of their wealth. This is happening as a growing body of evidence suggests that deforestation, as well as the loss of biodiversity and medicinal plants of indigenous science, play a central role in enabling the emergence of new infectious diseases.
We strongly denounce that this greed is now being reinforced under the pretext of economic reactivation.
We call on all Indigenous Peoples and local communities to follow the call of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, with bases in Mesoamerica, South America and Indonesia, in implementing more rigorous measures of territorial control, including collective lockdown, Indigenous dignified quarantine, reactivation of whole traditional medical knowledges, ensuring each of our community food reserves, to prevent the advance of this pandemic. Stand your ground!
Finally, to you, defenders of your natural resources, your territories, whether you are an individual or a whole people, we want to tell you that you are not alone. We need to unite our voices, globalize our struggles, because there is no planet B. Therefore, we call on the entire world to unanimously raise our voices in order to uphold the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in every part of the world.
The Global Alliance of Territorial Communities represents indigenous peoples and local communities from the Amazon Basin, Brazil, Indonesia, Central America and Mexico, grouped in four territorial organizations: the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN), the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA).
Photo credit: Rachel Elkind