In this second version of the Global Meeting of Indigenous Leaders in Defense and Protection of Territories, organized by Dejusticia (Colombia's center for legal and social studies) in coordination with the governing council of the Kichwa Sarayaku Native People, it was attended by brothers and sisters from different parts of the world: Kenya, Guatemala, Argentina, Colombia, Tanzania, Nepal, Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, USA and Uganda
who accompanied us on December 17, 18 and 19, 2018.
One of the main scopes of this meeting is to strengthen the networks of communication, solidarity and mobilization between the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In this way, we go beyond geographic and linguistic borders to bring together causes and enable joint struggles at a global level. The main axes of the meeting were located in the field of politics, indigenous justice and indigenous communication. These three transversal axes are proposed as tools that accompany, strengthen and potentiate the various demands of indigenous peoples and communities worldwide.
The main topics that were reflected on were: the right of indigenous peoples in the global framework: Advances and setbacks by Dr. Mario Melo; Sumak Kawsay: the case of the Sarayaku, by Franco Viteri, Tupac Viteri and Marlon Santi, leaders of the Sarayaku people; debates on the right to prior, free and informed consultation by James Anaya, former UN rapporteur on indigenous affairs; lessons from the Sarayaku case for the Global South: research-action strategy by César Santi, former Sarayaku president, and Mrs. Narcisa Gualinga, who is part of the council of ancestral judges.
Within the framework of this meeting of listening, reflection and exchanges with other organizational experiences, we were left with various reflections regarding the process at the organizational and political level of the people of Sarayaku. For this reason, it is important to recognize the key elements in the organization and defense of community territories: 1. The construction of a political position that is collective, unified and clear; 2. Indigenous and community communication, as a tool to make life proposals visible and complaints against human rights violations; 3. Understanding of the legal context for the use of international and national legal tools.
On this subject, the former Rapporteur for Indigenous Affairs of the United Nations, James Anaya, addressed some clarifications regarding the debate on prior, free and informed consultation, as a right and legal tool that we peoples and nationalities have to decide on the fate of our territory. At this point, it is necessary to point out that there have been other experiences worldwide, which, like Sarayaku, have maintained a firm position against any type of exploitation of the territory. In this way, and under the support of ILO Convention 169 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the peoples have found legal tools for the collective recognition of their territories, and something of utmost importance, the visibility of life proposals, alternative to capitalist extractivism.
The great achievement that was obtained from the Sarayaku case (2003) has barely been a step in a long path of struggle from the indigenous peoples and nationalities of the world, resistance that began against colonization, evangelization, acculturation, logging extractivism , rubber, now oil tanker. The framework of the territorial struggle of different peoples and nationalities at a global level, In the words of Marlon Santi (Leader and former president of the Kichwa Sarayaku Original People: “we know the Sarayaku case is not a finished fight, it is a fight that continues and is in force Also, like that of other peoples who are not only in resistance, but planting life alternatives that seek to maintain and generate life, as in the case of Kawsak Sacha-living jungle.
We know that the work continues and that these meetings feed us with other experiences of indigenous colleagues, African, rural, peasant communities... That each one, from their worlds, has decided not to sit still, raise their voice and defend life as a permanent claim, but we know that our problem is not only against extractivism, the struggles are also daily, and are reflected in the efforts of women, men, children and the elderly to maintain life day by day. in the territories.
As Franco Viteri, (Leader and former president of the Original Kichwa Sarayaku People) expressed it in the framework of the Sumak Kawsay reflection and the Sarayaku case: “the Sarayaku case was and is emblematic, not only because we wanted it, this process would not have could have been without the experiences that we have had from other countries, from other peoples in other worlds”. The Sarayaku struggle is and will be collective.
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