Ottawa – A delegation from the Philippines that includes an Anglican bishop wants the government to appoint an ombudsperson to monitor Canadian mining operations overseas and to support formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front.
“We want the Canadian people to hear our story and we want that foreign corporations operating in the Philippines, especially Canadian mining companies, be held accountable for their complicity in human rights violations against our people,” said Bishop Antonio Ablon, speaking at a news conference on Parliament Hill March 23.
The five-member delegation is on a six-city tour of Canada sponsored by KAIROS, a social justice coalition of 10 Canadian Christian churches and organizations, including the Anglican Church of Canada.
The tour, from March 20 to April 5, also includes visits to Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. In Ottawa, the group met with members of Parliament, officials of Global Affairs Canada and other civil servants. Ablon also preached at a service at Christ Church Anglican Church in the Aylmer area of Gatineau, Que.
People in resource-rich communities are being driven from their lands and from their sources of food and livelihoods into hunger and poverty, said Ablon, the bishop of Zamboanga del Sur province in Mindanao, one of the three islands in the Philippines. “People’s rights are being violated and some people who choose to stand their ground are being killed.”
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