By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Here is the statement of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity:
"Today, October 12, there are voices of resistance in all over cities, neighborhoods, in the Andes, in the Amazon, in all indigenous territories against the colonial and historical oppression. Our strength is to preserve our cultural and biological diversity. We affirm our struggle for life, for our dignity.
"In this regard, we recognize the various struggles for dignity at local levels. Indigenous peoples and local communities face several conflicts: Lack or none respect to our territories and to the right to self-determination. Our resistance is against mining companies that affects the biodiversity, affects the fundamental relationship between indigenous peoples and biodiversity. Our resistance against infrastructure work: these constructions of roads and dams, which affect the relationship with territory, culture and continuity of indigenous peoples as distinct societies. Our struggle is for biodiversity, respect to traditional knowledge, to our cultures, to our territory.
"We support local communities, specifically who suffer the same reality of indigenous peoples. They have been evicted from their land, marginalized and excluded.
"Today, we commemorate the 520 years of invasion and conquest to our continent, the Abya Yala. We urge all governments and State Parties involved in the Eleventh Conference of the Parties, to urgently ratify the Convention No. 169 from International Labour Organization and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, because these are instruments; constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples of all around the world.
"Today, October 12, we reaffirm the value of our ancestors, our grandmothers, grandfather, who fought to defend our Mother Earth, our forests, our rivers, our coasts, our mountains, and our identity. We honour them by claiming that women, youth and indigenous peoples keep their ideals, their legacies and we will not fail in our struggle.