Tag Archives: Marikana

COLLECTIVE STATEMENT ON THE COMMEMORATION OF THE MARIKANA MASSACRE

“We are all Marikana.”

This is the call of the South African miners, workers, activists, as they commemorate the brutal killing of 34 miners who were in the picket line in the hills of Marikana, South Africa, two years ago. The slain miners were part of the 3,000 who walked out of their jobs to demand for wage increase from the Lonmin Mines. This was considered as the worst act of police brutality since the dawn of democracy in South Africa.

It was on the 16th of August 2012, when thousands of miners who were converging at a hill or koppie at the Lonmin Mine were fired at by the police. Recent evidence presented to the Marikana Commission showed that the firing was unprovoked. On site, there were 34 miners killed, and scores were injured. But the number of casualties increased even after, as the crackdown on the strikers and supporters went on. News reports in South Africa said that “people died, violently, before and after that date” http://marikana.mg.co.za/The Marikana Commission, which was convened to investigate the killings, has not put any police or government official implicated in the murders, to prison.

As daughters and sons lost their fathers, and women were widowed, and mothers still grieved for their sons, Lonmin Chief Executive announced that after two years since the Marikana massacre, and after successive workers strikes, “we are making good and steady progress in terms of our plans to return to full production. . . I am pleased with the enthusiasm in our management and all employees to the re-building of our relationships and operational credibility.”

Lonmin Platinum Mines in South Africa has Glencore Xstrata, a Swiss transnational corporation, as one of its major shareholders. Glencore Xstrata is very familiar with us here in the Philippines, as it is the majority shareholder of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), the holder of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) in the gold mines in Tampakan, South Cotabato. Glencore Xstrata is very familiar too with incidents of violence against community members. The infamous Tampakan Massacre happened within its mining concession, involving the family of known anti-mining B’laan tribal leader. The brutal killing of Juvy Capion, and her two children, by the military in October 18, 2012, happened the same year that the Marikana Massacre happened. And more B’laans who continued to oppose the gold mining in their ancestral domains, continued to be killed violently, even after the massacre.

Two years after the massacre, the SMI announced that the Tampakan gold project, “despite its delays and challenges, remains on track.” Meanwhile, the court martial which was conducting the inquiry about the killings has not put any of the 21 soldiers who raided the Capion house, in jail.

The parallelisms are chilling. Even more so are the killings, the human rights abuses, and the impunity that the perpetrators enjoy. These mining companies continue to conduct their business as usual, with somechallenges, and delays, coddled by the national government because of the so-called contributions to the economy. South Africa boasts of the largest platinum deposits in the world. The Philippines is ranked as the 3rd in having the largest deposit gold. That is why some of the biggest mining companies in the world such as Glencore Xstrata are present in these countries. They come, they ravage, they enrich themselves, and leave the peoples hungry, landless, poorer, orphaned, widowed, and grieving for their killed daughters and sons. South Africa and the Philippines are both rich in mineral resources. Yet these countries are homes to the poorest of the poor people.

Today, we remember the killings in Marikana. We condemn the human rights abuses by the corporations against poor communities. We demand justice for the miners who were killed for asking what were owed to them – just wage and housing. We also demand justice for the Capions, and for the 25 of community leaders and activists who were killed under the Aquino administration, for standing up for their rights against large scale mining. We call for an international binding treaty that will make corporations accountable to human rights abuses, and break impunity.

Today, we affirm our continuing support to the struggles of the miners in Marikana, and the communities who oppose the encroachment of SMI and other mining companies into their lands, and in their lives.

LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)

Philippine Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA)

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)

SENTRO ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)

Focus on the Global South

Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. 

CSOs cry for justice for Marikana Massacre victims

IMG_20140815_110108In solidarity with the Marikana Global Day Of Remembrance on August 16, social movements and Civil Society Oganizations (CSO) staged a protest in front of Glencore’s office in Ortigas to commemorate the brutal killing of 34 protesting miners who worked for Lonmin Platinum Mines, in Marikana South Africa. (http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/marikana-massacre-16-august-2012)

Glencore, a Swiss Transnational Corporation (TNC) is a major stakeholder of Lonmin Platinum Mines and has a mining project in, Tampakan, South Cotabato.

“We are one with the people of Marikana in remembering our brothers and sisters in South Africa whose fates have fallen ill to the dire reality of poverty and unjust labor systems and practices.” Said Josua Mata, Secertary General of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

“Though Marikana is miles away from the Philippines, it is not a far reality from our labor forces’ situation if we let our guards down and let capitalism oppress our rights as a work force.” Mata added.

SENTRO, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Miserior Partnership Incorporated (PMPI), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Focus on the Global South, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) and Indigenous Women Group LILAK spearheaded the rally which began in ADB Avenue to Emarald Avenue, Ortigas.

The groups performed an awarding ceremony and recognized Glencore as a World-Class Human Rights Abuser and put crime scene tapes around the building.

“ The degradation of our environment and the rampant human rights abuse caused by the mining companies, in this case Glencore and Lonmin, has turned our world into a big crime scene.” Said Fr. Oli Castor of PMPI.

“Until when should we keep our silence to their atrocities? Until when should we let them destroy mother nature? We should not wait until they have extracted everything that they can from the earth and until another Marikina or Tampakan incident happen.” He added.

Recently, Glencore was in hot water when five (5) countries including the Philippines presented cases of human rights abuse against the mining company in the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“Mining areas are really hot spots for human rights abuses and violations. Time and again we have been witnessed to this and without the state’s recognition of this reality, things are just going to get worse.” Said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP.

Amistad also said that, “What we need is a system that serves justice and not impunity of abusive and greedy transnational corporations. Whether in Marikana in South Africa or in Tampakan in South Cotabato, the government should be pro-people.”

On June 26, 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council has approved the initiation of an international legally binding treaty that will hold TNCs accountable to corporate human rights abuse. (http://alyansatigilmina.net/2014/07/15/atm-press-release-csos-celebrate-hr-resolution-of-unhrc-urges-the-ph-government-to-follow-through/)

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator stressed the importance of such legally binding treaty to stop human rights abuses and violations committed by TNCs in different parts of the world.

“One of the reasons why TNCs are shamefully courageous on committing human rights abuses is the lack of a definitive and thoroughly monitored and implemented legally binding rules and regulations to protect the people, especially the work force.

“This has also become a gateway of human rights violations of states that prioritize capitalists instead of their people. This is what happened to Marikana, this is what’s happening to Tampakan. If we want justice for them, and for all the victims of human rights abuse and violations, we need to start setting a higher international standard to make this happen.” asserted Garganera.

On August 16, Saturday, the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel will also join the commemoration of the Marikana Global Day of Remembrance. A film showing of the Marikana massacre documentary Miners Shot Down (http://www.minersshotdown.co.za/) will be held at the Tampakan Parish to be followed by a candle lighting action.

SAC Marbel is a network of Alyansa Tigil Mina and the leading local organization opposing the operations of Glencore in Tampakan. It is also a member of the Tampakan Forum, an alliance convened by PMPI that works on mining and human rights issues in the area.