Sample letter:-Published by MAC on 2006-07-12
Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street,
Canada K1A 0A2
Dear Mr. Harper,
I am writing to express my dismay at recent events in Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines.
I am gravely concerned by reports that TVI Pacific's security forces have been involved in the forced relocation of a family of Canatuan residents in order to expand their gold mine at Canatuan, which led to destruction of a local property and four people being seriously injured.
We write to urge you to act with speed to intervene and urge the company to stay its hand and restrain its local representatives and paramilitaries to avoid any further forced relocation, intimidation or violence.
The root of the continuing problem surrounding the presence of TVI in Siocon is that many local people who oppose the development of the mine, and specifically the presence of TVI, feel that their rights and wishes are not being respected.
TVI claims that they have secured widespread local support. There is, however, much evidence to the contrary. The Mayor and municipal council of Siocon are on record as opposing the plans of TVI, as are the vast majority of Barangay officials within the municipality legitimate Indigenous leader and holder of the legal Ancestral Domain is still has maintained his opposition consistently for ten years. Recent divisions in the community nearest the proposed mine caused by the presence of the mining company have not altered the opposition among local Subanon people who are now resisting resettlement.
Philippine law rightly requires that any and all new mining ventures secure local acceptance and, in cases where Indigenous Populations are affected, the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of the affected ancestral landholders is required. This FPIC is, according to the law to be determined through indigenous decision-making processes. These latest incidents appear to show that local people will continue to insist on their right to a say in the future of their community, especially one that could have such adverse effects on so many of their livelihoods.
We therefore appeal to you to act with speed to protect the community and use the powers and influence of your office to bring about:-
- An immediate and permanent halt to any and all forced relocation
- The withdrawal of the company's armed personnel from the area before there are any more acts of violence or further destruction of property;
- Full respect for the wishes of the traditional land holders, namely that the mine be halted as an abuse of a sacred site, its severe damage to the environment and the destruction of the subsistence livelihoods of the local Indigenous Peoples.
- Respect for the legitimate rights of all local residents, including their right to live in peace and right to a livelihood
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