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News Release

​Parliamentary Petition Calls on Canada to Act on Human Rights Abuses in the Philippines

Source: 
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-Canada) – MiningWatch Canada

(Ottawa) A petition calling on the Canadian Government to act in response to increasing extrajudicial killings of civilians and human rights defenders in the Philippines will be tabled by the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Strathcona, Heather McPherson, in the House of Commons on February 25, 2021, at 10:00 A.M. EST.

Viewers can watch Ms. McPherson Heather table the petition on “House of Commons proceedings Live at 10” on CPAC. She will hold an online press conference following the tabling of the petition (details below). 

Canada is implicated in the rights abuses through military aid to the Philippines and through the role that Canadian mining companies play in the country. “The Philippines is now one of the two most dangerous countries for defenders of human and environmental rights according to Global Witness,” said Patricia Lisson of ICHRP-Canada (International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-Canada). “In 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report highlighting severe human rights violations, reinforced by harmful rhetoric from high-level officials against human rights organizations, lawyers, political, judicial actors, journalists, trade unionists, and religious groups,” she added.

Community members from Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, accuse Canadian OceanaGold’s copper-gold project 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, making them targets for extrajudicial killings,” said Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada. “In 2020, police used violent dispersals of a peaceful and authorized blockade of the mine, even though it has had no permit to operate since June of 2019.”

Even as the Philippines’ human rights situation has steadily deteriorated, Canada has continued to provide military aid. “Given the grave human rights situation in the Philippines, Canada should not be selling the country military equipment and providing defence cooperation,” said Lisson. “Canada should add the Philippines to its list of countries that it will not export military goods and technology.”

Canada falls short in protecting Philippine human rights defenders both at the consular level in the Philippines and through its lack of corporate accountability mechanisms at home. “When some of the villagers were falsely accused, facing threats of extrajudicial killing because of their opposition to OceanaGold, and sought assistance from the Canadian embassy in Manila, their requests were not addressed,” said Coumans. 

Coumans added, “At the same time, we still do not have an Ombudsperson in Canada who has the necessary investigatory powers to compel witnesses and documents to address complaints against Canadian mining companies.” 

MiningWatch Canada and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-Canada) launched a Parliamentary Petition in 2020 to address these human rights concerns. The petition garnered over 1000 signatures from concerned Canadians.

A press conference will follow the tabling of the petition.

Where: Ottawa, Canada (online)

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89569054602?pwd=a1NOc0VLL0NnZlJSbUtReGV5cHB1dz09

Meeting ID: 895 6905 4602 – Passcode: 105533  

When: February 25, 10:30 A.M. EST

Participants

  • Heather McPherson, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Strathcona
  • Cristina Palabay, General Secretary, Karapatan (Philippines)
  • Bern Jagunos, ICHRP-Canada 
  • Catherine Coumans, Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada
  • Moderator: Patricia Lisson, Chair, ICHRP-Canada

For more information contact: 

For background information, see: