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Philippines Probes 50 Oil Majors for Human Rights Violations

The Philippines Commission on Human Rights is investigating whether the world’s 50 biggest carbon polluters have violated the human rights of its population—and by extension, the world’s.

One of the driving forces behind the investigation, Naderev “Yeb” Sano, is a former Philippine diplomat and now head of Greenpeace South Asia, whose deep personal commitment brought drama to past United Nations climate summits. Ahead of the 2015 conference, he walked thousands of kilometres across continents to reach Paris.

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“The Paris agreement in my view and in the view of Greenpeace has not really responded to the call for an ambitious phase-out of fossil fuels,” Sano told Climate Change News. “In fact, it seems to give a bit of leeway for the fossil fuel industry, and their fingerprint on the deal is quite obvious.”

The investigation of such companies as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Peabody Energy, Total, Anglo American, and others is in response to a complaint filed by 20 high-profile individuals, 14 organizations, and 1,288 other Filipinos last September. “Since then, more than 100,000 people have registered their support online,” Darby writes.

The Commission, which more usually examines the conduct of Philippine authorities and its military, is expected to hold hearings and issue a report within a year. In the United States, meanwhile, New York State prosecutors are investigating whether Exxon deliberately misled the public about what it knew about the climate impacts of its products.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees “security of the person,” and the Philippines Constitution protects its citizens’ right to a healthy environment.