The Global Witness released a chilling report noting that 197 land and environmental defenders were murdered in 2017.
“These activists are at the frontline of a global battleground. From the ruthless scramble for natural wealth in the Amazon, to park rangers protecting the nature reserves of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the faces of environmental defenders span continents, countries and regions,” the report observed.
As you may know, environmental defenders, like Berta Cáceres and Isidro Balenegro, (both Goldman Prize winners), were gunned down for their advocacy to protect Indigenous sacred sites and forests. Also earlier this year, the government of Philippines deemed many Indigenous human rights defenders to be terrorists, including Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Joan Carling, Co-Convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development.
In the backdrop of these coordinated attacks on Indigenous human rights defenders globally, IFIP and our members created a call to action in Lima, Peru, during our Latin America Regional Funders Network Conference. We recognized that responsibility and reciprocity should be the guiding principle for Indigenous philanthropy and called upon our peers in the global giving community to stand behind those on the frontline of defending Indigenous collective rights and the Earth.
As a continuation of our mission to inspire funders to engage Indigenous Peoples in philanthropic decision-making processes, we are producing five funder regional briefings in Russia, Latin America, Pacific Islands, Asia, and Africa. These briefings will guide funders on issues and threats facing Indigenous defenders and how donors can support local and regional Indigenous advocacy groups and movements.
We are deeply grateful to partner with key allies and regional Indigenous-led organization to bring you these briefings. The briefings explore meaningful opportunities for investing in Indigenous movements.
While these attacks on defenders are disheartening, we also know that local to global action is powerful and fertile and funders, too, need to be a part of the solution by building partnerships with Indigenous Peoples that are equitable, responsive and respectful.
Thank you for your engagement in the Indigenous Defenders Briefing (through our series of webinars and dialogues with funders) and for supporting Indigenous Peoples.