Blog Entry

Parliamentary Petition Addresses Human Rights Crisis in the Philippines, Mining, and Canada's Role

Catherine Coumans

Ph.D. Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator

MiningWatch Canada and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-Canada) have launched an electronic Parliamentary petition in response to increasing extrajudicial attacks on civilians and human rights defenders in the Philippines since 2016.

Please support human rights in the Philippines by signing this petition before december 30, 2020.

The Philippines is now one of the two most dangerous countries for those who defend human and environmental rights according to Global Witness. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ issued a report on the Philippines this year that found serious human rights violations against human rights organizations, lawyers, political and judicial actors, journalists, trade unionists, and religious groups.

Canada is implicated in these rights abuses through the role Canadian mining companies play in the country. OceanaGold’s copper-gold project in the village of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, has long been accused of serious human rights and environmental abuses. In 2018, local indigenous people, who have peacefully opposed the mine for years, were falsely accused of sedition against the state, making them targets for extrajudicial killings, which have become so common in the Philippines. This year a large police force violently dispersed a peaceful and authorized blockade of a road to the mine, even though the mine has been without a permit to operate since June of 2019. 

Canada falls short in protecting Philippine human rights defenders both at the consular level in the Philippines and through its corporate accountability mechanisms at home. When some of the people who were falsely accused, and faced the threat of extrajudicial killing because of their opposition to OceanaGold, sought assistance from the Canadian embassy in Manila their requests for help were not addressed. At the same time we still do not have an Ombudsperson in Canada who has the investigatory powers to compel witnesses and documents that are necessary to address complaints against Canadian mining companies.

For background information see: