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17 Dec 2018

Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada

Background brief: Human rights defenders call on Canadian Embassy to take action in alignment with govt's "Voices at Risk" guidelines

"Background Brief: Information provided to the Canadian Embassy during a visit on November 15, 2018"

This brief summarizes information provided to the Second Secretary of the Canadian Embassy in Manila... [by] four indigenous Ifugao human and environmental rights defenders...; one member of a national public-interest scientific organization (AGHAM); members of two Philippine national support organizations, Alyansa Tigil Mina and Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment, and Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada... [A] request was made by the affected villagers from Didipio that embassy staff take action in alignment with the Government of Canada’s “Voices at Risk” guidelines to protect the individuals and organizations named in the October 2018 “red tagging” incidents... [where] signs named both local and national Civil Society Organizations and accused them of having some form of association with the New People’s Army... followed up by a pamphlet that was distributed at bus stops and other public places... All of the individuals from Nueva Vizcaya who are named have one thing in common, they have been critical of the human rights and environmental impacts of large scale mining in the Province, or have provided support to local individuals or organizations in these struggles... The public naming of individuals and legitimate public interest organizations in posters and pamphlets... is... often a precursor to violent action against, and extra-judicial killings of, these named individuals.