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Activists from 28 countries address destructive impact of #mining

July 31, 2015

Activists from 28 countries address destructive impact of mining

They advocate for a UN treaty that will let people sue mining corporations

<p> Anti-mining activists voice their concerns over destructive

Anti-mining activists voice their concerns over destructive mining at the International People’s Conference on Mining in Manila. (Photo by Joe Torres)

  • Joe Torres, Manila
  • International
  • July 31, 2015

Anti-mining activists from 28 countries have formulated a "people’s global mechanism" to address the destructive impact of mining.

The activists, who were part of the July 30-Aug 1 International People’s Conference on Mining [
] in Manila, said they will present the mechanism before the United Nations later this year.

"We will advocate for a binding treaty in the UN that will give rights to the people to sue mining corporations and hold them accountable for violations and crimes," said Clemente Bautista of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

Bautista, a conference organizer, said they will also propose the formation of a UN commission or rapporteur on extractive industries.

"On the national level, we want to improve local and national laws that will be at par to international standards," said lawyer Selcuk Kozagacli, chairman of the Progressive Lawyers Association in Turkey.

He said there were cases in the past where erring mining companies leave the countries after violations have been committed.

"With an international mechanism. We can join forces and file cases in an international tribunal," Kozagacli told "Now more than ever do we need a united people’s struggle worldwide to defend the people’s rights and environment."

Maria Antoni Recinos, a rural environment activist from El Salvador, said there is a need for "international solidarity" in the campaign against destructive industries.

"Governments must take concrete measures where there is exploitation, especially in countries where destructive mining companies operate," she said.

Gabriel Sheanopa Manyangadze of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches said that with the support of an international alliance they will "escalate the campaign to continental levels" and work with their network of churches.

The meeting in Manila discussed how the current economic crisis, experienced by the global mining industry, will impact local communities.

Host country Philippines served as a microcosm of the global mining crisis.

Large-scale mining in the Philippines grew from 17 operations in 1997 to 46 at present and has generated US$28.6 billion worth of minerals in terms of total production value in the same time.

"Such industry growth, enjoyed only by a handful of transnational mining corporations, comes at the cost of people’s lives, livelihood and environment," said Bautista.

In Pope Francis’s recently released encyclical, Laudato si’ (Praise be to you ­ On Care For Our Common Home), addressed to every person on the planet, he blamed human greed for the critical situation "Our Sister, mother Earth" now finds herself in.

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