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A Future With The Right To Land, A Future For The Right To Self-determination

For many Indigenous Peoples communities across the world, the fight against landlessness and the defense of ancestral lands marks this year’s commemoration of Day of the Landless.

Landlessness, lack of land rights recognition and ownership, and systemic land grabbing remain among the main drivers of social inequality and oppression for Indigenous Peoples (IP), farmers, and rural workers. Amid several victories to recognize ancestral land rights, nearly one-quarter of the world remains landless including Indigenous Peoples who remain the poorest with high cases of hunger and malnutrition. The IP oppression as seen in landlessness and discrimination remains a challenge not only for their fundamental right and root of identity and existence but also in their role in tackling sustainable food production, climate change, and protection of biodiversity.

They are pushed to landlessness by imperialist plunder, government and corporate “development” projects, war and conflict, logging, mining, mega-dam construction, plantation, colonial transmigration policies, and even forest conservation projects. In all these, indigenous women and children are also put at a greater risk of harassment and exploitation.

The suffering inflicted against IP communities not only manifests in such overt acts of violence; it is manifested in land laws and policies favoring big businesses and foreign investments to open and encroach ancestral lands.

Even during the pandemic, entry and construction of destructive projects in IP lands continue. These also fuels conflict and militarization of IP communities resulting in forcible evictions and internal displacements.

But IP land defenders and its advocates do not take this sitting down. Global movements to defend IP continue to grow even amidst increasing criminalization, harassment, terrorist-tagging, and killings with impunity by state security forces.

As states, world leaders, and corporations converge in global summits on food systems and agriculture, IPMSDL expresses condemnation and great concern as imperialist control and corporate powers continue to dominate. The structural roots of landlessness, hunger and poverty, and growing human rights violations to those who stand against it, will remain unaddressed without genuine representation from Indigenous Peoples, rural workers, farmers, and peasants, and peoples movements.

On the Day of the Landless, let’s amplify our call for the recognition of IP collective and self-determined rights to own, manage, utilize land, territories, and resources.

IPMSDL joins IP movements, advocates, peasants, rural and agricultural sectors, and other marginalized sectors in calling for genuine land and agrarian reforms and a better future free from landlessness and oppression.

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