Indigenous Rights are Human Rights
One of the key elements of the Baram Peace Park is its focus on Indigenous rights. Supporting our communities' claims to native customary rights (NCR) lands, ensuring rights to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) in all development projects, and protecting their rights to self-governance and self-determination are some of the project's central goals. The importance of the Baram Peace Park is not simply in its natural beauty and critical place as a biodiversity habitat, but in the Indigenous cultures and livelihoods it has supported for centuries.
On September 13th, 2007, the United Nations enshrined these critical principles in its Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (commonly known as UNDRIP). This document is crucial for understanding and protecting the unique rights afforded to Indigenous peoples, as a result of centuries of systematic oppression and marginalization.
Many Indigenous residents of the Baram Peace Park have suffered extreme harms in violation of UNDRIP: forced removal from ancestral homelands, the destruction of key sites of cultural importance like gravesites and subsistence areas, physical and sexual violence, denial of access to basic infrastructure, and systematic discrimination. Central to the fight to protect our forest is the fight to protect our safety, our freedom, our livelihoods, and our histories.