KAIROS leads PH Learning Tour to Mindanao communities impacted by Canadian mining
TORONTO–KAIROS Canada is organizing a tour to the Philippines to learn more about how Canadian mining operations are impacting communities in that country. Ten representatives from KAIROS, the United Church of Canada, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and CUPE, as well as First Nations communities, will visit four cities from July 30 to August 10.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, as well as church and human rights groups on Mindanao, an island in the Philippines, invited KAIROS to organize the Philippines Learning Tour to review evidence of numerous alleged human rights violations associated with Canadian mining operations on the island. Documented violations include kidnapping, arrest, illegal detention, torture, displacement, loss of livelihood, intimidation, threats and harassment.
Delegates will visit mining-affected sites, meet with community members, including victims and their families, church leaders, local governments, and mining company representatives. They will also meet with officials from the Canadian Embassy in Manila.
First Nations representatives from Canada will include George Poitras, a member of Mikisew Cree First Nation and former Chief. Poitras lives in Fort Chipewyan in Northern Alberta where the community is calling for a comprehensive and independent review of the health impacts of oil sands development affecting its residents. Linda Wilson, an Indigenous leader from the Grand Valley reserve in Ontario, and Gloria Lepine, a Cree from the Meti Nation, will also join the tour.
“The information and stories we gather on the tour will be used to help Canadians better understand the impact of Canadian mining in the Philippines,” says Ed Bianchi, KAIROS’ program manager. “Canadians have a right to know.”
KAIROS Canada works with partners in the Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Colombia that are raising awareness of the ecological and social impacts of resource extraction operations.
KAIROS is a member of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), which launched the Open for Justice Campaign in October 2013. The CNCA and its members are pressing for federal legislation to hold Canadian companies accountable when they are complicit in human rights or environmental violations overseas. Specifically the CNCA is calling on Canada to create a mandatory extractive-sector Ombudsman and to legislate access to courts for people who are harmed by the international operations of Canadian mining companies.
Following the Philippines Learning Tour, KAIROS staff will attend the Mindanao-North America Solidarity Conference in Davao City in the Philippines, which will focus on human rights violations on Mindanao.
KAIROS Canada is a social justice organization of eleven Canadian churches and religious organizations. It focuses on Indigenous rights, international human rights and ecological justice. KAIROS deliberates on issues of common concern, advocates for social change and joins with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation. For more visit: www.kairoscanada.org.