Workshop Group on the Gendered Impacts of Mining--DECLARATION
International People’s Conference on Mining
Manila, Philippines | July 30 – August 1, 2015
Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) have a very strong connection with their lands and territories, which they describe as a source of life. In addition, the environmental damage generated by the extractive industry impacts women’s ability to provide food and clean water for their families and communities. Also with the loss of land and displacement, women’s workload to provide for their families increases, including the impact on women who are trafficked and victims of forced migration. Destructive and large-scale mining also impacts on their and their families’ health, and their livelihood.For all these reasons, many women have taken leadership roles defending their lands and communities. They are building and strengthening their organizations and communities; creating spaces for the development of their capacities; leading protests and direct actions; asserting women’s voices in negotiation platforms, political and governance processes; and are building solidarity across communities and national borders to resist transgressions on their rights. Assuming these new roles has increased their visibility, but has also put them at greater risk. WHRDs are exposed to violence from businesses, governments and repressive institutions, including patriarchal structures that perpetuate violence.
There are numerous cases of extrajudicial killings, and use of criminal and civil cases being brought against defenders by governments, companies and security forces based on vague definitions of crimes in the context of the leadership roles they take on in their communities resisting “development projects.” Criminalization, which is reinforced by gender-based discrimination and violence, is an attack against women defenders. It is often accompanied by smear campaigns that include defamation and rumours about WHRDs’ gender and sexuality that reinforces gender stereotypes and generates rejection and isolation from their families and communities. These campaigns can also undermine their leadership role in their organization and movements.
In addition, the increased use of the military, police, paramilitaries and private security agencies to counter opposition to “development” projects has had a severe impact on the lives and security of WHRDs. In particular, WHRDs are at high risk of sexual harassment and rape by security guards or military personnel around mining sites. Deception tactics are also being employed, such as the manipulative process of obtaining the free, prior and informed consent, to attempt to divide communities and derail their resistance to extractive industries. Impunity and lack of access to justice for these violations are a major challenge for WHRDs.
Our experience of repression and impunity as WHRDs are brought about by the complicit actions of States and corporations where policies and laws are created in favour of corporate interests over the rights of women and peoples. These happen despite the presence of international human rights laws, including the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Governments and trans-national corporations exacerbate the dire impacts of extractive industries on women and their communities through the plunder of their lands and resources, and multi-lateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements that infringe on women’s rights, the right to self-determination and sovereignty of peoples.
However, women are organizing and mobilizing their communities, and other sectors, to resist the onslaught of these extractive industries. They are challenging government policies through direct action, protest demonstrations, and all forms of resistance. They are also creating visions of genuine peoples’ development that is based on gender equality, environmental sustainability and social justice and working towards making these a reality.
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan, Philippines
Daniela Fonkatz, Association of Women´s Rights in Development (AWID), Argentina
Inmaculada Barcia, Association of Women´s Rights in Development (AWID), Spain
Vernie Yocogan Diano, CWEARC, Philippines
Connie Sorio, KAIROS, Canada
Meeka Otway, Pauktuutit-Canadian National Inuit Women’s Association
Yorm Bopha, Boeng Ka Women Association, Cambodia
Long Kim Heang, Housing Rights Task Force, Cambodia
Gloria Chicaiza, Accion Ecologica/Red Latino America de Mujeres, Ecuador
Kalluri Bhanumathi, Dhaatri Resource Centre, India
Noorhayati, AMAN Indonesia, Indonesia
Jennifer Ferariza Meneses, United Methodist Church, Philippines
Bai Jocelyn Andangan, Tindoga, Philippines
Francisca Tolentino, Bai Women’s Indigenous Network, Philippines
Charmaine Lim, Migrante Australia
Sarojeni Rengam, PAN-Asia Pacific, Malaysia
Geri Cerillo, Tanggol Bayi, Philippines
Zenaida Soriano, Amihan, Philippines
Pipi Supeni, BPAN Indonesia, Indonesia
Mama Aleta, Pokja Oat, Indonesia
Siti Maimunah, Indonesia
Geetha Lakmini Fernando, NAFSO, Sri Lanka
Prabuddhika Gayanthi, NAFSO, Sri Lanka
Bai Cristina Lantao, Conferederation of Lumad Women in Mindanao, Philippines
Veronica Malecdan, Innabuyog, Philippines
Katharine Rourd, Disobedient Films, United Kingdom
Susan Camania, EcuVoice, Philippines
Sr. Emma Teresita Cupin MSM, JPIC-MSM, Philippines
Cristeta Sison, Move Now-Sagip (CEC), Philippines
Tina Bati-el Moyaen, Save Apayao People’s Organization, Philippines
Emma Cantor, United Methodist Church, Philippines
Bai Josephine Pagala, Kasalo, Philippines
DJ Acierto, Karapatan, Philippines
Estelita Geronimo, Tanggol Bayi, Philippines
Diak Anwan Demans Mabababan, PDPK, Indonesia