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Urgent Interventions

Philippines: Mining activity on Sibuyan Island must be halted to prevent further killing and violence

Mining activity on Sibuyan Island, Romblon Province, the Philippines, must be halted to prevent further killings and violence The peaceful opposition by local communities and indigenous people to mining that violates their rights and endangers their way of life on the Filipino Island of Sibuyan has been met with violence resulting in the killing of some 17 persons, including the recent fatal shooting of the leader of a protest movement by a security guard of the Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corporation on 3 October 2007. Respect for the rights of local communities inscribed in Philippine law, notably the 1997 Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act, has been overridden by the application of the 1995 Mining Law designed to promote foreign investment. This has resulted in many illicit mining activities and increased opposition of the populations directly concerned. To prevent further violence and killings, the International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) calls on the Government of the Philippines to halt mining activities on Sibuyan Island and to establish an independent commission to review respect for the rights of the local population, to seek ways to protect their rights in the future. OMCT recommends calling on the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people to assist the independent commission. OMCT also calls on mining corporations and their partners and owners to carry out their activities in strict respect for the human rights - economic, civil, cultural, political and social - of the populations affected by their activities and establish control mechanisms that ensure the respect for those rights and ongoing dialogue with the populations concerned. OMCT further calls on the European Union to ensure human rights are respected in the implementation of the 2007-2013 EU-Philippines Country Strategy Paper. This report has been prepared in close consultation with Philippine non-governmental organisations.
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