UN Environment hits 'terrorist' tag on Filipino IP advocates
MANILA, Philippines — United Nations (UN) Environment head Erik Solheim voiced concern after the Philippine government tagged UN special rapporteur Victoria Tauli Corpuz and indigenous peoples' rights advocate Joan Carling as "terrorists."
Corpuz is UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples while Carling is a focal person for the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development.
"These charges must be dropped immediately, and support provided for the legitimate activities of these individuals who have UN mandates, and the civil society organizations with which they work," Solheim said a statement dated March 15.
"The shrinking space available to independent people to carry out legitimate work and to speak on behalf of many voiceless indigenous and local communities globally is an issue that must be addressed through increasing openness and participation," added the UN Environment chief.
Like UN Environment, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also urged Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and other officials "to immediately annul this unacceptable action and to issue apologies and regrets to all concerned."
Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment welcomed these pronouncements from UN Environment and IUCN.
"We fear this terror-listing might be aimed at systematically dismantling the strongest corridors of resistance against natural resource plunder and wholesale land grabs," explained Kalikasan national coordinator Leon Dulce.
The Department of Justice earlier issued a list of 461 names and 188 aliases to be declared "terrorists," including alleged leaders and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA). Duterte has sent mixed messages about resuming peace talks with communists. –Rappler.com