The Conservation Initiative on Human Rights (CIHR) is gravely concerned about recent reported actions taken by the Philippine government alleging the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, is a terrorist. Ms. Tauli-Corpuz has a demonstrated record that spans decades of working to protect the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. She has advised the CIHR on how to ensure respect for rights in our conservation practice, providing expert guidance and leadership to our member organizations. In all our work with Ms. Tauli-Corpuz, she has advocated for peace, demonstrated her respect for the rule of law, and upheld the highest moral standards.
These allegations, brought against Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and other defenders of the rights of indigenous peoples, including Joan Carling, co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group on Sustainable Development, jeopardize the safety and security of these individuals. We call on the Philippine government to resolve these allegations against Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and Ms. Carling immediately, by affirming their innocence and ensuring their physical safety. The Philippine government has a duty under international law to protect UN mandate-holders as well as human rights defenders.
Photo © CI/Harold Castro