Sunday, November 13, 2011

Human rights groups pay tribute to environmental martyrs

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From the Website of CBCP
Links:  http://www.cbcpnews.com/?q=node/17519




Human rights groups pay tribute to environmental martyrs


MANILA, Nov. 12, 2011―Church and human rights organizations paid tribute to martyrs who lost their lives protecting rural communities and the environment in a prayer and candle-lighting ceremony held in various key cities nationwide.

The activity was part of the observance of the Global Day of Remembrance of the Heroes, Heroines and Martyrs of the Resistance against Mining, Oil and Gas on November 10.
In Manila, around 100 human rights advocates gathered at the Pope Pius XII Center in UN Avenue, to pay honor their fallen comrades in prayer and songs.

Church groups and human rights organizations delivered solidarity messages and urged for the repeal of Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of an Alternative Mining Bill.
Simultaneous with the activity in Manila was a prayer gathering in Palawan, Cebu and another in Cagayan de Oro that drew more than 30 participants from human rights groups, civil society and government.

Human rights advocate Judy Pasimio from Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KsK) urged for justice for killed environmental martyrs.
“We seek justice for these martyrs. People and the government must bring their assailants to justice, for true peace to be achieved,” she said.

“The Philippine government must not put the interests of the mining companies over the welfare of the community and the whole nation, by serving the greed of these large mining transnational corporations,” she added.

Human rights groups had earlier criticized the Aquino government’s decision to allow mining companies to form militias to defend its interests from rebels’ attacks.

Pasimio said Aquino’s decision to permit mining corporations to have its own paramilitary units can be construed that “he is for mining and against those who opposed it.”
She lamented that mining has become “synonymous to violence” as many advocates have lost their lives because of their anti-mining stance.

Italian priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio was the latest of a string of environmentalists who were killed this year, when he was gunned down in Cotabato last month. Another outspoken anti-mining activist, Datu Roy Gallego, was also killed in Surigao del Sur last October 14.
Early this year, Dr. Gerry Ortega, a broadcaster and anti-mining advocate, was killed in Puerto Princesa.

Other documented killings related to mining include Councilor Armin Rios Marin from Sibuyan Island who was killed by a mining security guard last 2007 right in front of a rally against mining; Gensun Agustin from Cagayan Valley, gunned down in a highway last 2009, on his way from an anti-mining forum he organized; and Rudy Segovia, shot and killed at a barricade set-up in Zamboanga del Norte to prevent the entry of mining equipment in their ancestral domains.

The tribute to environmental heroes was part of the global solidarity actions organized in Nigeria, Indonesia, Guatemala and Australia to mark the anniversary of the murder of Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa. Together with eight other Ogoni leaders, Saro-Wiwa was executed in 1995 for speaking out against the impact of Shell and other oil companies in the Niger Delta. (CBCPNews)




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