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Global IP Movement Gathers To “Ignite” Indigenous Unity, Advance Struggles

The Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) convened Indigenous Peoples (IP) leaders to “keep aflame the struggle for indigenous rights” in an international gathering last October 30-31 in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The IPMSDL conference entitled “IGNITE! Keep the Fire Alive!” brought together 34 participants from 12 countries and territories comprising 21 organizations with representatives from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Pacific.

“In the most challenging times of increasing issues confronted by Indigenous Peoples in defending their lands, resources and distinct ways of life, this is a much needed space to renew the commitment and consolidate our movement,” said indigenous Ibaloi leader and 2019 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights awardee Joanna Patricia Cariño.

The two-day focused on four key panel events about “Land, waters, territories and self-determination,” “Self-determination as solutions to Environment and Climate Crisis,” “Criminalization, militarization and attacks to self-determination” and “Self-determined Culture and Ways of Life.” Country sharing and followed by the panel discussion contributed to the IGNITE Conference Declaration that laid out core unities and direction for the movement’s future work.

IGNITE was also a chance to strengthen and set out IPMSDL structures and governance. The new co–convenors were announced naming Ms. Beverly L. Longid and Mr. Jiten Yumnam; and Mr. Paul Joseph C. Belisario as the new Global Coordinator.

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“IGNITE! Keeping the Fire Alive is more than a title or a theme. It is a call to action. This flame hasn't dimmed, even during the years when we did not convene; it has grown stronger. Our presence here signifies our commitment to keep this fire burning,” Longid described in her keynote address.

“Complementing the existing work of different IP platforms and mechanisms, IPMSDL is now challenge to ignite its potential in sustaining its work on IP and human rights, campaign on land and resources, climate, youth, women to contribute to our aspiration of justice, peace and equality,” added Yumnam.

Ms. Longid, an indigenous Bontoc-Kankanaey from Cordillera, was the IPMSDL Global Coordinator since 2016. She now also serves as the National Convener of Katribu, the national alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines; Executive Council member of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact; and International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia Steering Committee Member, Indigenous Peoples Global Platform Representative - Asia. Mr. Yumnam, indigenous leader from Manipur, is part of the IPMSDL International Coordinating Council since its inception, and the Secretary General of Centre for Research and Advocacy - Manipur. Mr. Belisario is part of the IPMSDL Global Secretariat since 2017 leading its work on communications, linkages and networking, and later on working as its main Campaigns Officer and Deputy Global Coordinator since 2022.

“IPMSDL relies on the solidarity that its network has built for more than a decade,” according to Belisario. “Thus, carrying on the torch, rekindling and sustaining the flame ignited by our ancestors, those heroes who sacrificed for our people's struggle is both an honor and responsibility.”

The gathering was the first time IPMSDL held a conference again after its establishment in 2010. IPMSDL, an international movement and global campaign platform of IP groups and communities, was launched in Baguio City, Philippines during the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Alternatives and Solutions to Climate Crisis. Currently, its global secretariat remains based in the Philippines.

The conference was hosted by IPMSDL partners in Cambodia, and made possible with the support from the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) and The Christensen Fund.#


Romeo Jara, Communications Officer

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