Indict US-backed Pres. Duterte for violations of right to dev’t, nat’l self-determination

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IBON International Statement on IPT2018
18 September 2018

As an organisation for democratically-owned development, we at IBON International stress the need for holding the United States-backed Duterte administration to trial at the International Peoples’ Tribunal 2018 (IPT2018) for their systematic infringement on people’s civil, political, socio-economic rights – and with the same importance, on the people’s right to national self-determination and development.

Peoples would best realise the right to development when they are fully able to carve their political and economic path, through the right to national self-determination. This would include the Filipino people’s sovereignty over natural resources, as well as people’s organisations’ active and collective participation in claiming their rights.

For us, these rights continue to be under threat as US foreign policy goals take the lead in Philippine policy, with national self-determination only existing in paper. We would see this in various instances, which the IPT2018 will cover: attacks on civilian communities and schools; massacres of hors d’ combat; “terrorist” tagging and profiling; destructive mining and environmental degradation; crimes against humanity; and attacks on the right to national liberation.[i]

We denounce the Philippine government’s continued reliance on the economic model that assumes “private investment” as a mistaken panacea for development; this runs contrary to development that is owned by the people. Lumad indigenous peoples had been outraged when President Duterte claimed that he himself will pick the investors to extract resources from their ancestral lands. The disaster of corporate plunder was recently seen in the Cordillera region where effects of typhoon Mangkhut were worsened by looser soil from big mining operations.[ii]

As a global court convened through organisations of people’s lawyers and a global network of Philippine solidarity advocates, we expect that representatives of people’s organisations and other expert witnesses will fully expose the extent and gravity of attacks on Filipino peoples’ civil-political and social and economic rights – from its so-called “drug war” to other offensives against workers, peasants, indigenous peoples and other sectors.

As one of the co-convening organisations of the IPT2018, we call on the international community to join the demand to stop the attacks on the Filipino people’s rights and to heighten the calls for justice. Indicting the US-backed Duterte regime on just grounds would put the Filipino people closer – if only by a small step – towards justice and defending their rights.

We call for peoples around the world to stand in solidarity with the Filipino people and its organisations who have been active in forwarding people’s development, one that is led and owned by grassroots through claiming their rights and exercising their collective sovereignty.#

[i] International Peoples’ Tribunal. 2018.

[ii]Cordillera People’s Alliance. 2018.