Bandung Declaration 2018: Indigenous leaders called on world governments to urgently uphold their obligations to protect Land and Environmental Defenders.

“We, Members of the International Land Coalition (ILC), on the 27th of September 2018, gathered in Bandung, Indonesia, for our Assembly of Members, following the Global Land Forum under the kind hosting of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Global Land Forum National Organizing Committee. We represent over 250 civil society and multilateral organisations from 77 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean”.

Despite our diversity and many different approaches, we have chosen to come together around the shared mission of building people centred land governance, as fundamental to a just, equitable and inclusive world. The realization of our ten commitments to people-centred land governance is what guides and drives our joint actions as a coalition.

The Sustainable Development Goals have brought a historic recognition by UN Member States’ leaders to the importance of land rights. However, since the last Global Land Forum in Dakar, Senegal in 2015, we observe trends that deeply challenge our shared goal to Leave No One Behind.

The dramatic and unacceptable upward trend of killings, attacks and criminalization of Land and Environmental Defenders both individuals and communities must be reversed. The current situation is at crisis levels in many countries, and directly affects our member organisations especially those of peasants and indigenous peoples. The recent reports of the Special Rapporteurs on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, on Human Rights and Environment and on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples noted the rise of “a global crisis” of attacks against environmental and human rights defenders, highlighting that many of these defenders are indigenous peoples.

We honour the memory of those in our network who have lost their lives since we last met in 2015, due to their heroic work, as Land and Environmental Defenders, to defend the land rights of their communities. We note for instance that in Indonesia over the past decade, Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) reports the eviction of 3.5 million people through landgrabs, detention of 1,617 Land and Environment Defenders, and killings of 122 Land and Environmental Defenders.

Considering that most abuses against Human Rights Defenders are related to land rights, it is critical to strengthen the recognition of land rights in human rights frameworks, institutions and instruments, such as the ongoing process at the Human Rights Council on the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

We call on governments to urgently uphold their obligations to protect Land and Environmental Defenders, fully apply the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted twenty years ago and ensure companies and investors respect the rights of Land and Environmental Defenders in their activities and supply chains. We are cognisant that for some governments, persecution, attacks and criminalization of Land and Environmental Defenders is a deliberate strategy. We call on such governments to end repressive action and criminalization, and will do all within our power as a coalition to promote accountability and the right to justice and to directly support the protection of Land and Environmental Defenders and their communities under threat.

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