PH prepares to summon 47 oil companies to account for climate change

Petitioners in the landmark human rights complaint against fossil fuel companies today submitted to the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR) copies of their petition in compliance with CHR’s May 10 Order, which also enjoins the respondents to answer within 45 days upon receiving their copies.

The petition, which CHR will send to the 47 top fossil fuel companies worldwide, seeks investigation into, and accountability of, these companies for climate impacts that endanger people’s lives and livelihoods, as well as that of future generations.

The complaint is the first of its kind in the world and is being brought forward by typhoon survivors, advocates and non-governmental organizations, including Greenpeace Southeast Asia. The petitioners are supported by more than 31,800 Filipinos out of the more than 128,000 global online supporters.

“This is a big, bold step for the Philippines as it is at the forefront of climate impacts. But this courageous undertaking can only succeed with the unifying support of government agencies, communities, civil society organisations and other human rights institutions from all over the globe. Climate Justice is not the Philippines’ fight alone, the outcomes of this petition may mean a better life for countless souls, but we all have to do this together.” said Anna Abad, Climate Justice Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The petition covering climate change and human rights was brought to the CHR initially in September 2015. By December, the CHR announced that it will open an investigation in 2016 using a National Inquiry approach.

Last May 10, the CHR released an Order directing the petitioners to reproduce and submit copies of the petition, including supporting exhibits and annexes, for sending out to the 47 companies, which includes Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips, and which are part of the 90 legal entities that have contributed the lion’s share of cumulative global CO2 and methane emissions to the earth’s atmosphere, as identified by peer-reviewed scientific research.

The petitioners are expecting that these big oil companies will be served their Summons within the next few days, after which they have 45 days to reply to the CHR.

“We demand justice. These big oil companies should acknowledge their accountability for the impacts of their irresponsible business activities on the lost homes, lives and livelihood of those that are at the mercy of climate change. Filipinos are among the most vulnerable, and we hope that the investigations of the CHR will finally be able to right some wrongs,” Abad added.

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