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10 May 2020

Philippines: Civil society denounces violent police action to disperse community barricade at OceanaGold's operation; company responded

Local and international civil society groups raised allegations that violent police action was used in order to disperse a peaceful indigenous community barricade at the site of OceanaGold's operations in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, the Philippines, on 6 April 2020. The barricade was set up in July 2019, following the expiration of Canadian-Australian mining company's mining permit. The solidarity groups also said that the government has weaponized Republic Act 11469, using it to arrest a community leader for allegedly violating quarantine protocols even though the community was allegedly very careful to observe physical distancing at the barricade. R.A. 11469, or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, is the law recently passed by the Philippine government to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited OceanaGold to respond. We also asked what the company's plans were, if any, to protect indigenous human rights defenders, raising concerns about their operations. The company responded by citing their human rights policy and discussing what they have done so far to review their operations. OceanaGold's full response is below.