Philippine Lumad organisations receive Human Rights Prize from Stop The Killings

On December 10th 2015 the platform Stop the Killings awarded the Lumad organisations of Mindanao, in the Southern Phillipines, with a human rights prize. They pay a high prize for their struggle against international mining and agricultural businesses operating in the region.
In 2014 116 environmental activists were killed.

Several hundred people demonstrated in Brussels to end violence. Afterwards, the Lumad organizations were granted the prize because of their ongoing struggle in Mindanao. They organize the indigenous Lumad population and demonstrate against large-scale mining and agricultural activities, which pollute their environment and lifestyle. They will continue to do so, even in extremely difficult circumstances. On the first of September, Emerito Samarca was killed, along with two leading figures of the Lumad community. Despite intimidation and killings, the Lumads have resisted against a big scale copper and goldmine in Tampakan for the past 25 years.

4 nominees

The Lumad organizations won from the Workers Committee of the municipality of Palmeras from Colombia, the Peruvian activist Maxima Acuña the Chaupe and the Association of Mayan Attorneys from Guatemala. The jury, composed of representatives of trade unions, social organizations and the academic world, hopes that the price will help end violence against the organizations.

The award was received by Percenita “Daday” Sanchez, of the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation. This organisation founded itself 19 Lumad schools. She thanked Stop the Killings and all those who voted for their solidarity.

The urgency of their situation was recently highlighted by the UN rapporteur for the rights of internal refugees, Beyani. In his report, he asks for special protection of the Lumads since their culture as well as their income are  both endangered.

International Day of Human Rights

The past month more than a thousand people voted for one of the nominees. Some hundreds of people joined today for a noisy demonstration through the streets of Brussels and attended the award ceremony. They show solidarity with environmental activists in the South on the International Day of Human Rights. Many of them had also demonstrated this Sunday in Ostend for the climate.

Environmentalists are more and more becoming victims of lethal violence. According to the NGO Global Witness, 116 environmental activists were killed the past year. With this campaign, the platform Stop the Killings wants to call attention to this worrying evolution.

Stop the Killings is an action platform of trade unions and social organizations. Through action and information they want to oppose the repression of unionists and activists in the South. The Lumads were nominated by Solidagro and 11.11.11, who both work together with the Lumads to make sure .they are better able to defend their rights. It was the third time that the human rights prize was awarded.

Also read the article (in French) on 7sur7.