The attacks against the rights of environmental defenders in the Philippines have alarmingly worsened over the past recent months under the government of infamous Filipino strongman, Rodrigo Duterte. Activists opposing big mines and plantations are being systematically assassinated, homes of community leaders are being raided, and entire villages are being forced to evacuate because of military operations securing resource-rich lands.
From November 10 to 14, 2017, a total of 40 civil society groups, people’s organizations, and social movements engaged in various parallel activities to the ASEAN Summit came together with a common statement urging President Duterte to free all imprisoned environmental defenders, and to take action on various other human rights violations perpetrated against them.
We urge you to join this collective clamor for justice. If your organization is interested to be part of this sign-on statement, send your organization’s name, country of origin, point person’s full name, and email address to defendenvidefendersPH@gmail.com.
We will publicly launch this statement on December 4, 2017 (GMT+8) to kick off a week of people’s actions for environmental justice and human rights in the Philippines. This statement will be filed before our public officials in the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice, as well as our legislators in the House of Representatives.
We hope for your warm solidarity!
For the People and the Environment,
ANNA MARIA KAPUNAN
Health Care and Environmental Activist
Environmental Advocates against Repression and Tyranny in Defense of Human Rights (EARTH)
CLEMENTE BAUTISTA, JR.
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE)
Defend Environmental Defenders!
Environmental defenders are under attack in Asia’s deadliest country for environmentalists. In just more than a year under the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, at least 32 environmental defenders have been killed, 240 have been slapped with harassment lawsuits, and over 16,400 have been forcibly displaced because of their resistance to destructive projects.
It is no wonder that the natural resource-rich country was declared the deadliest in Asia and third deadliest in the world in the Global Witness 2017 report on killings of environment and land defenders.
Women who found their voice in the defense of the environment like indigenous Ifugao and village official Marilyn Lango, one of the leaders of the community organizations opposing Australian-Canadian mining firm Oceanagold in Nueva Vizcaya province, are being imprisoned by police and military forces on non-bailable charges. Six women human rights defenders working on mining and other environmental issues in the region of the Cordilleras have also been similarly lodged with harassment suits.
Big mining has much to do with the mayhem. Anti-mining activists such as Lito Casalla, a leader of agrarian reform beneficiaries from Batangas province defending their lands against the San Miguel Corporation subsidiary limestone mine project, constitute 56% of the monitored killings. Big mines such as Filminera and their figureheads in government are in fact responsible for all trumped-up charges we monitored.
Civilians are systematically targeted by bloody military operations under an increasingly aggressive ‘Oplan Kapayapaan’ counter insurgency program and the dark shadow of Martial Law. Communities opposing big mines, plantations, and other destructive projects, repeatedly accused as supporters of communist rebels, are being attacked by military and paramilitary troops with combat operations and bomb runs.
It is not a crime to defend the environment. It is our conviction that safeguarding the rights of environmental defenders and their communities is imperative to the protection of our environment and conservation of our natural resources.
We urge the Duterte administration to immediately free all remaining 15 illegally detained environmental defenders from prison, and drop all 230 trumped-up charges still lodged against environmental defenders. Urgent and concrete actions must also be taken to stop the killings of environmental defenders and bring to justice its perpetrators.
Let our fellow environmental defenders continue to freely speak out and take action.
1. Environmental Advocates against Repression and Tyranny in defense of Human Rights (EARTH)
2. Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE)
3. Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC-Phils)
4. Ministry on Ecology – Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila
5. Miriam Public Education and Awareness Campaign for the Environment (Miriam PEACE)
7. College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) – Southern Tagalog
8. Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Philippines
9. AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People
10. Agra Indonesia
11. Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Central Luzon
12. Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) – Central Luzon
13. Anakbayan UPLB
14. Asia Pacific Workers Solidarity Links (APWSL) – Korea
16. Bayan GL
17. Bayan USA
18. BIEN (BPO Industry Employees’ Network) Philippines
19. Cambodia IP Alliance
20. Cambodian Youth Network
21. Center for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas / AIPP – Vietnam
22. Centre for Research and Advocacy – Manipur
23. COURAGE – LEAGUE
24. Ibon International
25. Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
26. International League of People’s Struggle
27. IP – CL
28. KARAPATAN – CL, Philippines
29. Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
30. Lao Hamutuk – Timor Leste
31. Loas – Malaysia
32. Metal Worker’s Alliance Philippines
33. MHEP – Thailand
34. Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand
36. River Coalition in Cambodia / NGOF
37. Santi Sena
39. UP Saribuhay
40. WAR – III
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 356 21 66 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Site: www.kalikasan.net
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