With the theme, “Strengthening solidarity to advance indigenous peoples’ rights,” the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) along with the 47-member organizations of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) convened in Chiang Mai, Thailand from September 27-29, 2016 for its 7th General Assembly.
Jill Carino, Vice Chairperson of CPA and member of the Executive Council of AIPP representing the Southeast Asia Subregion stated that, “The General Assembly (GA) of AIPP is a very good opportunity for indigenous peoples organizations and movements all over Asia to come together to strengthen solidarity and advance our rights.”
Carino added that, “The AIPP is a valuable platform for indigenous peoples in Asia, particularly at this time that indigenous peoples are experiencing plunder of resources, eviction from their communities and human rights violations because of investments of extractive industries and other destructive projects.”
Carino reiterated that, “There is a need to share experiences and support each other in our struggles. We bring with us to the assembly our long experience in the Cordillera of asserting our right to ancestral land and self-determination, but also go home with a stronger commitment to international solidarity.”
Piya Malayao, Secretary General of Katribu, the largest national organization of indigenous peoples in the Philippines and also member of the AIPP highlighted the, “Continuing challenge to advance the struggles of the indigenous peoples for our collective rights to our ancestral lands and self-determination. It is now time to put into action the strategic plan and program that we have united on, and to use as an added fuel our renewed solidarity as indigenous peoples and oppressed peoples across Asia.”
The AIPP 7th GA elected new set of officers with Gam Shimray of Northeast India as Secretary General and Kittisak Ratanakrangjangsri of Thailand as the Chairperson. Subregional groups and sectoral representatives of Southeast Asia, Mekong, South Asia, and East Asia, women and youth also elected their own representatives to the executive council. A new AIPP strategic plan for 2017-2020, several policies for gender, anti-corruption and ethical fundraising were approved by the general assembly.
AIPP grew tremendously through the years as the organization of indigenous peoples organizations and movements in Asia. The conceptualization of AIPP started in October 1984 in Baguio City during a dialogue on the theme “Solidarity of Indigenous Minority Peoples Struggle for Land and Identity Groups in Asia. This dialogue was attended by 30 participants representing indigenous communities in Australia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines. The group decided to formalize their support for each other in the form of a Solidarity Pact.
Vice Chairperson and member of the Executive Council of the AIPP