Preserving Activist Safety and Ancestral Lands

The Situation: Amidst an increasingly hostile environment for activists in the Philippines, threats against one indigenous woman activist escalated in 2011. Her husband was murdered in 2008 by a group of armed men for his opposition to proposed development projects. As she continued to attend press conferences and lobby to expose the injustice of development projects, a group of the Philippine military and local paramilitary kept her home and office under constant surveillance. In April 2011 they kidnapped and interrogated her child, and threatened that they would kill her if she did not cease her activism.

The Rapid Response: The Solidarity Action Group for Indigenous Peoples (SAGIP) is an advocacy body that promotes the ancestral land rights and welfare of indigenous people and raises public consciousness on issues affecting indigenous peoples. SAGIP used Urgent Action Fund support to hire unarmed security personnel and purchase more advanced security equipment.

The Impact: The increased security measures helped ensure the activist’s safety as she remained in the community to continue her work. Today, her work protecting the ancestral lands of her village of Kahusayan from further development is still in progress.