Human Rights Advocacy, Monitoring and Documentation In Defense of Indigenous Peoples' Rights in a Mining Community

Human Rights Advocacy, Monitoring and Documentation In Defense of Indigenous Peoples' Rights in a Mining Community

Philippines
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project aims to build the capability of indigenous peoples in claiming their rights to their ancestral lands in communities threatened by the entry of large scale mining operations. This is intended to be realized through human rights education and training on monitoring and documentation of rights violations of leaders and members of indigenous peoples' organizations.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Changes in State policies and procedures in the mining industry in favor of big mining companies has resulted to an escalation of human rights violations in indigenous communities affected by mining activities. There is an urgent need to strengthen and prepare communities to meet the onslaughts of destructive mining operations bv raising their capabilities to claim their rights.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The idea is unique because it focuses on enriching existing indigenous practices on monitoring their situation and problems, and developing these cultural practices using a human rights approach.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

An significant accomplishment of the project was the mainstreaming of HR perspective and methodologies in dealing with the mining issue and its negative impact on affected communities in the country. In the project site, the partner peoples’ organizations and local support groups have internalized and have actually conducted HR activities such as information dissemination, education, and monitoring and documentation of incidents of abuses. For example, during the October 2, 2009 attempted demolition in Barangay Didipio, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, the residents, mostly indigenous peoples, were able to videotape the actions of the more than 200 police forces including the throwing of teargas molotovs and the use of excessive force to disperse the barricading villagers. The said videos were instrumental in convincing the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct a high profile fact-finding investigation in HR activities, the local organizations have recognized the need to create mechanisms and structures to sustain these initiatives especially in the light of entry of development projects such as large-scale mining. In 2009, during its General Assembly, KIRED, an indigenous peoples' organization in the area, adopted HR M&D as a major task of the organization and created a committee for this purpose headed by one of its HRD. KIRED is currently identifying potential HRDs in several barangays in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. KIRED leaders who are also village officials in Barangay Kakiduguen, Kasibu realized the importance of reviving the Barangay Human Rights Action Center (BHRAC) that could be an effective mechanism in safeguarding the rights of residents. They planned to organize BHRAC with the support of national partners specifically HR organizations like PhilRights.
About You
Organization:
Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Nymia Pimentel

Last Name

Simbulan

Country

, XX

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Organization Name

Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)

Organization Phone

+ 63 2 4331714

Organization Address

53-B Maliksi St., Brgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City, Metro Manila 1100

Organization Country

, XX

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, XX

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Actions

PhilRights had undertaken the following major activities to realize the project objectives:
1. Development of a Human Rights Violations Database System at the Local Level. A Local Database System (Community-based Database System) was put-up in the project site in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya. The system involved the formulation of standard terms including mining-related HR violations, development of standard documentation tools, design of a computer data base program, and formulation of Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs).
2. Development of Training Modules on Community HR M&D for HRDs. A set of modules was developed to guide the capability trainings and workshops of HRDs in HR M&D. The modules contained pertinent knowledge on HR, processes in HR M&D, standard terms and violations, tips on data-gathering methodologies, and how-to’s in utilizing the standard documentation tools.
3. HR M&D Trainings for Local HRDs. A series of three (3) trainings on HR M&D were conducted among HRDs from IP organizations to enhance their skills and knowledge, and enable them to conduct actual data-gathering or field documentation. A total of 45 individuals participated in the HR M&D trainings.

Results

Among the major achievements of the project were:
1. Common list of mining-related human rights violations & standard data gathering and processing forms for documenting violations were developed;
2. Produced 4 training modules on HR M&D for local HRDs in mining communities;
3. 28 members of indigenous tribes (5 females, 23 males) participated in the HR training;
4. At least six (6) incident reports supported by photos and video of mining-related incidents or violations pertaining to the violent efforts and threats of the mining company to break through the barricades put up by the IPs in the community were submitted to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The case reports were also circulated among support groups which were used as basis for statements and press releases.
5. PhilRights assisted in drafting the report of the fact-finding mission which was conducted in the area to investigate the violent incident in the community. The fact-finding report was submitted to CHR and a press conference was held to publicize the report. A news article on the fact-finding results and CHR response was published.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If so, how?

PhilRights together with other anti-large scale mining groups conducted lobby work in Philippine Congress on HR violation cases in mining communities. Through its information work, it was able to assist the holding of Congressional on-site hearing on cases of HR violations in the project site and facilitated the participation during the hearing of IP residents.

The institution also joined the mobilization and other lobby actions for the passage of an Alternative Mining Bill during the 14th Congress (2009) as a replacement of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. It submitted a statement to the Committee on Natural Resources supporting the Alternative Mining Bill and attended Congressional public hearings on the bill.

Currently, the institution is preparing a human rights policy paper on the Alternative Mining Bill so that the human rights dimensions of the bill is strengthened.

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation.

Partnerships with other human rights NGOs, as well as with government agencies are critical in project implementation. The strategy is necessary especially when collective actions need to be undertaken by the community residents to defend their rights and in order to project their issue to the general public. Also when working for policy and legislative reforms on the mining issue, it is important to be able to generate as many support as possible and to tap the expertise of other NGOs.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Like most HR NGOs in the Philippines, PhilRights heavily relies on external funding for its operations and maintenance, as well as the implementation of projects and activities consistent with its institutional mandate. The initiative on HR M&D in mining communities is financially support by Christian Aid, U.K., a longtime funding partner of PhilRights. Since the start of the project/initiative in 2008, Christian Aid has provided financial support to cover a percentage of the NGO's institutional maintenance operations, project staff salaries and activities like networking, meeting-consultations, trainings, publication, travel, equipment, etc.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The escalation in human rights violation cases reported through the mass media in mining communities especially in communities populated by indigenous peoples and the increase in mining application in different parts of the country triggered the need for this initiative. PhilRights recognized the urgent need to build the capacities of IP communities in the area of human rights. Knowledge and understanding of human rights concepts and approaches and skills in undertaking human rights work like monitoring and documentation need to be raised in order for them to engage government agencies and defend their rights.

Tell us about the social innovator—the person—behind this idea.

The initiative did not originate from a single individual. It was a product of collective discussion and experiences of the NGO. As a human rights NGO, PhilRights is constantly in search of opportunities of how it can share its knowledge and skills to impoverished and marginalized groups and communities, and contribute to their empowerment as individuals and as a people. Through its various endeavors in conducting human rights education and trainings, it had the opportunity to interact and work with indigenous peoples. This experience triggered the institution to develop a proposal aimed at the developing the knowledge and skills on HR M&D among indigenous peoples especially in the light of the rising problems and challenges to their lives and culture brought about by the entry of large-scale mining operations in their communities.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

If through another source, please provide the information.

NA

Additional
Which (if any) of the following strategies apply to your organization or company (check as many as apply)

Other.

Please explain how your work furthers one or many of the above strategies (if you selected “other”, please explain your strategy)

PhilRights is primarily a human rights institution that is actively involved in research, training and information work among impoverished and marginalized sections of the Philippine population. In realizing its mandate and implementing projects, the institution utilizes 4 major strategies which constitute its institutional programs, namely: Research,
Education and Training, Publication & M&D.

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