Oil Majors to Answer Human Rights Inquiry in Philippines

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“Businesses must be mindful of the long-term and far-reaching impacts of their operations on the human rights of people anywhere in the world,” – Kristin Casper, Greenpeace lawyer.

Philippines investigators have summoned 47 corporate polluters to answer allegations of human rights abuses. ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP are the top targets among 47 companies invited to answer for their part in causing climate change impacts

The Commission on Human Rights is calling fossil fuel and cement companies to account for the role of their products in causing global warming based on the greenhouse gas emissions from burning their oil since pre-industrial times.

Though not a court case, the companies will be asked to explain how they intend to make up for their polluting legacies. After hearing the evidence, the Commission will report its findings.

“Ultimately, those who have profited most from pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere must bear the burden of preventing the havoc already being wrecked by climate change,” said Greenpeace chief Jennifer Morgan. “This is the first step in that process.”

ExxonMobil and Chevron have consistently dismissed shareholder concerns about climate change. It remains to be seen whether these companies, with headquarters all over the world, will recognise the Commission’s jurisdiction.

The petitioners believe the Commission has a mandate to investigate any business that has an impact on the Philippines, regardless of whether it operates there. As well as probing corporations, the Commission has a brief to monitor the ways human rights are threatened by climate change domestically.

The Philippines accounts for less than 1% of global emissions, yet is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to weather disruption. Global warming is expected to make tropical storms more intense, while rising sea levels put coastal communities at higher risk from storm surges.

A heartfelt statement by a petitioner, Veronica “Derek” Cabe: “We’ve been affected for so long by storms, droughts… by extreme weather, now made worse by climate change. We want those most responsible to be held accountable. We want justice and to regain the ability to protect the little that we have left for our children.”

The oil companies which have been summoned have 45 days to respond to a petition brought by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and 13 other campaign groups.

Click here to read petition

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