As mining companies engage in human rights abuses, land grabs, environmental destruction, community upheaval, loss of traditional life, militarisation, pollution of vital ecosystems, and vilification and killing of human rights defenders and activists, in the Philippines the Tagalog word ‘palayasin’ (go away) rings out… and is heard throughout Asia, Latin America, Europe, Oceania and Africa. Though companies claim they are responsible corporate citizens, the branding does not match the reality.
Amidst much suffering to indigenous communities and local people, mining corporations, in amassing much wealth, wield economic and political power over governments, whilst being protected by international trade and financial institutions. But voices, cry out, ‘go away’, ‘no to mining, yes to life’.
The extraction of minerals pollutes areas beyond the actual mining sites and for years after closing operation. Pope Francis referred to the ‘mess’ in our planet in his recent Encyclical Laudato Si’. Governments promote mining and provide incentives to corporations in the name of ‘the national interest’ and ‘economic growth’, whilst the harm and cost to ordinary peoples’ lives, communities and future generations of all species is barely recognised. For governments it is ‘yes to mining, and no to life’ for their people.