United Church support for petition: upholding human rights in the Philippines

The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines have a long and rich history of partnership, shared ministry, and justice advocacy. Filipino communities and organizations in our church and across Canada have long been involved in human rights advocacy, and now the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines  and Mining Watch Canada are asking for the United Church’s support.

Rev Noël Suministrado serves in Prairie to Pine under a Mutual Recognition of Ministry Personnel of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and invites the people of Prairie to Pine to learn about and share a petition calling on Canada to do its part in supporting basic human rights in the Philippines, where the Canadian mining sector continues to have a strong presence and often meets with local opposition that sparks a violent response. Please click here to see background, and click here to sign this Parliamentary petition. The deadline is 31 December 2020.

As just one example: The Canadian company OceanaGold operates a mine in Didipio, Philippines. The people of Didipio opposed the company’s renewal of its mining permit, which expired in June 2019. In April 2020, the Philippine National Police violently dispersed community residents, primarily Indigenous peoples, who were maintaining a peaceful barricade that was authorized by the municipal and provincial governments.

Here are the key requests from the petition. Your prayerful discernment towards signing and sharing is appreciated:

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:

  1. Strengthen rules for Canadian businesses operating overseas and uphold human rights;
  2. Make the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise independent and empowered to compel evidence and witness testimony under oath;
  3. Enact a human rights due diligence law that compels businesses to respect international human rights;
  4. Hold hearings on the human rights situation in the Philippines in the parliamentary human rights sub-committee during the current session of Parliament;
  5. End Canadian support to the Government of the Philippines, including socio-economic and financial programming, tactical, logistical and training support, military sales and defence cooperation; and
  6. Mandate Canadian consular personnel to protect human rights defenders.