Envi groups called on gov’t and mining firms to respect people’s “right to say no”
ATM Statement | October 30, 2023
Philippine environmental defenders called on governments and mining corporations to respect mining-affected communities’ “right to say no!” in the wake of an international conference on mining and extractivism, where delegates from various countries pledged to continue their resistance against systemic attacks on their territories. “We call on governments and corporations to recognize and uphold legally the ancestral land rights of indigenous, mountain and pastoral communities and also respect the right of the communities, of the women to withhold consent, to say no to extractive and destructive industries and call to support and strengthen sustainable livelihoods,” said Che Polutan, Programs Coordinator of Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said: “By being part of an international campaign, we are strengthening local resistance against destructive large-scale mining and affirming the communities’ right to FPIC. No mining should be allowed without the free, prior and informed consent, especially of indigenous groups,” said. “Mining companies circumventing the FPIC process should be penalized and agencies tolerating this must be held accountable.” “The people's right to say no to mining extractivism remains just and correct so long as the global capitalist logic dominates our economic and political systems,”, said Leon Dulce, Campaign Support and Linkages Coordinator of the Legal Rights and Natural Resource Center (LRC). “Whether it be the assertion of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples, fisherfolks countermapping, or small farmers exercising their freedoms in blockading mining projects, we have the right to say no so long as mining results in the violation of rights and destruction of the environment,” he added. Philippine environmental groups, such as ATM, LRC and LILAK joined a diverse group of civil society, indigenous and local communities, unions, and faith-based organizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America (LATAM), the Middle East and North Africa, North America, and Europe at the Global Thematic Social Forum on Mining and Extractive Economy (TSF-Mining) in Semarang, Indonesia from October 17-20. According to the TSF-Mining website, the Right to Say No has applications at national, regional, and international levels using case law to argue for the development of national legislation and international protocols that enshrine the right to say no. “It is a permanent process of mobilization and affirmation of a territory’s desire to remain free from mining and extractive activities,” says the website. TSF-Mining seeks to strengthen the voices of mining-affected communities and workers by nourishing a platform for solidarity and collaboration. A “TSF Mining believes that there is an urgency to recognize and institute territories free from mining and extractivism. Saying No to mining means saying Yes to multiple imaginings and alternatives of production and sociocultural diversity, ecosystems and biodiversity. It means ensuring water, food, land, territory and forests that provide life are protected and preserved for generations to come,” the group said in its concept note.