Resistencias Comunitarias II: The defense of territory

You can check out the video here

On Tuesday May 19, CEJIL hosted another conversation with leaders and activists from indigenous communities from Chile, Paraguay, Colombia, and Mexico. The event speakers looked to highlight the difficulties faced by indigenous peoples throughout the continent, as well as highlight the incredible work done by leaders, activists and lawyers to defend their lands against extractive industries, violence and COVID-19. The panelists recounted the  myriad of threats they’ve been battling for years, to protect the land they live on from powerful industries, among them mining, oil, timber and farming,  as well as violence and persecution at the hands of the government, paramilitary groups and other legal and extralegal groups.

Throughout, the panelists discussed the dire circumstances they face due to the spread of coronavirus in their communities. Historically, and currently, many have not received government support, had access to adequate medical care and faced significant loss to their means of subsistence. Meanwhile, extractive industries continue encroaching on their territories to exploit natural resources.  During the session, leaders called  for a halt to all  exploitative industry activities, the provision of medical care and services,  government support to lessen food insecurity and a stop to forced displacement of indigenous people, among other things. But perhaps the main take-away of the webinar could be summarized in the words of Amazon Frontline´s attorney Lina Maria Espinosa who stated that indigenous people want an end to decision-making processes that rarely take the voices, needs and desires of indigenous peoples into account.