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On the frontlines: Indigenous women defending their lands and the environment

It is estimated that 411 million of Indigenous Peoples live in Asia . They represent 2,000 distinct civilizations and languages. Various terms have been used for Asia’s Indigenous Peoples, like “hill tribes” , “indigenous nationalities”, “tribal peoples”, “ethnic minorities”, “aboriginal people”, and “natives” and the corresponding names in local and national languages. In each country, their legal recognition vary which affects the exercise of their rights, particularly their collective rights to lands and self-determination.

Indigenous Peoples’ territories are part of the twenty percent of the global land area that is home to 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. In Asia, around only 8.7 percent of territories held by Indigenous Peoples and other local communities are legally recognized. The biodiversity and natural resources present in their lands and territories invite interest from business industries e.g., extractives, tourism, and agribusiness, among others. Often, the presence of these business actors in their territories equate to threats to their safety and security.

When their lands and territories are demarcated, often without proper free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), to development aggression projects, States and business actors collude to force indigenous communities out of, if not criminalized and/or killed when they claim ownership, occupy, or use their lands and territories.

Sep 20, 2022 01:15 PM in Singapore

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