Unprecedented findings by CHR vs mining firm | Inquirer Opinion

Unprecedented findings by CHR vs mining firm

/ 04:21 AM May 11, 2011

AUCKLAND PHILIPPINES Solidarity adds its voice to those of indigenous peoples, environment activists and all concerned Filipinos in calling on the Aquino administration to cancel all mining permits granted to mining transnational corporations, including New Zealand-Australian mining company OceanaGold, which plans to push through with a copper and gold mining operation in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya.

It’s ironic that the Aquino administration led a tree planting and cleanup drive on Earth Day when, in fact, it continues to promote the massive destruction of the environment and threatens to further displace communities by allowing OceanaGold and other mining giants to extract the country’s gold and other mineral resources.

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OceanaGold claims that “the company has been able to put emphasis on a high level of community relations, environmental compliance, and (on) building relations with the local and national government.”

In fact, the Commission of Human Rights of the Philippines, a national government institution, investigated and recently found that OceanaGold had indeed violated the human rights of the local Dipidio community. The CHR substantiated claims that OceanaGold had illegally demolished around 200 houses in the community during 2008, with the use of excessive violence and brutality.

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In its report, the CHR said that OceanaGold had been found to have committed a number of rights violations against Dipidio residents, including their right to residence, right to adequate housing and property, right to security of person, right to freedom and movement and right not to be subjected to arbitrary interference. The CHR also said that the company also violated the right of the residents, as members of an indigenous group, to manifest their culture and identity. On this basis the CHR has recommended that the national government revoke the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with OceanaGold and kick the firm out of the Philippines.

I have just returned from the Philippines as a volunteer with a human rights NGO and understand that the recommendation of the CHR is unprecedented. I am ashamed that an Australasian company has been guilty of such brutal and unethical behavior. I hope that the Philippine government does indeed give the company the boot. If not, we will continue to support the local Dipidio community in their campaign until the mine is shut down. OceanaGold should read the writing on the wall and cut its losses now.

—LUKE COXON,
Auckland Philippines Solidarity,
[email protected]

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TAGS: Conflicts (general), Environmental issues, human rights, Mining & quarrying
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