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Protecting Biodiversity And Its Guardians: Our Fight For Land And Rights

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and LIberation (IPMSDL) celebrates the International Day for Biological Diversity with our continuing call for the protection of the world’s remaining biodiversity, the environment defenders and for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) right to land and self-determination.

Our forests, our rivers, its wildlife and ecosystems, including all civilizations of mankind it hosts, are threatened with great losses. These threats link to greater catastrophes as studies show how biodiversity loss is interrelated to emergence of unknown viruses and diseases, worsening hunger due to loss of food and water sources, and rapid climate change.

Indigenous Peoples, the guardians of biodiversity and frontline defenders of earth, are driven away and uprooted from their lands to give way to the ever expanding mining, logging, monocrop plantations, oil exploration, energy plants, and infrastructure projects. Everyday, our capability to preserve earth’s biological diversity are increasingly pressured by environmental exploitation and resource plunder.

For centuries, indigenous knowledge systems and practices, passed down from generations to generations, reveals to us the relationship between all living things and their living environment. More than being primitive or exotic, indigenous ways are looked upon to understand ecological management, sustainable agriculture and land protection. But recognizing their knowledge must equally acknowledge critical facts: how can indigenous communities continue to be guardians of biodiversity when we are subjected to murder, persecution, discrimination and landlessness?

Around the world, government policies remain far in upholding IP right to self-determination that encompasses our freedom to safeguard our lands, territories and preserve our ways of life. As current global systems remain tilted towards corporate interests -- with transnational corporations and international finance institutions constantly financing projects that fuel militarization and conflict in ethnic areas, land grabbing, plunder and human rights violation -- our recognition for the “guardians of biodiversity” are mere empty phrases.

Today is a crucial time to stand for Indigenous Peoples land rights. With the current threats of the pandemic, the recent forest fires in the world’s biggest rainforests, and alarming rise of attacks to human rights defenders, Indigenous Peoples vulnerabilities and marginalization engangers us to extinction.

Let us celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity in solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples in their struggle for land, rights and territories!

#LandRightsNotPlunder

#ProtectionNotDiscrimination

#DefendAncestralLands

#StruggleForSelfDetermination

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