Aussie mine firm should be kicked out–CHR
On Mining
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 18:35

stamp_to_stump_large_scale_mining_10_29_09_6File Photo: by R. Yamzon

Aussie mine firm should be kicked out–CHR

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:19:00 01/17/2011

Filed Under: Philippines - Regions, Mining and quarrying

THE COMMISSION on Human Rights (CHR) said Australian mining firm Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) should be kicked out of the country for violating the rights of indigenous people in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya.

CHR Chair Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales said the company, which acquired the Didipio copper-gold mine site in 2006, illegally demolished about 200 houses in the community in 2008 and violated the people’s property rights.

The CHR, in its report, said Oceana’s demolition of houses near its mining site was accompanied by excessive violence and brutality.

The mining firm was also accused of preventing the indigenous locals from exercising their livelihood rights. According to the CHR, Oceana fenced off large sections of the roads and pathways which community residents have relied upon for the past 30 years to transport produce from their farms to the market.

“It was also reported that OGPI has set up checkpoints around the village, causing them difficulty in moving about, resulting in the unjust restriction of their social and economic activities,” the report noted.

Rosales also noted that the firm’s hired security guards, who were armed with long firearms, intimidated the locals.

“The situation in Didipio constitutes a continuing threat to the security of persons of the people in Didipio because it exposes them to constant uncertainty—to an incessant fear that something untoward might happen to them, their family or their properties,” Rosales said.

The CHR has passed a resolution urging the government to cancel its Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with Oceana, Rosales said.

“In light of these findings, the Commission has resolved unanimously to take the following actions: Recommend to the government under the new administration to consider the probable withdrawal of the FTAA granted to the foreign company in view of the gross violations of human rights it has committed,” Rosales said in her report.

The CHR also directed the military and the police to report concrete steps to protect the rights of the community.

Regarding the company, the CHR said Oceana “should consider the Commission’s findings and conduct a policy reorientation on the conduct of mining operation taking into conscious account the observance of human rights of the community involved.”

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 18:45

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