Webinar Details Mindanao HR Situation amid Climate Crisis

MCJ’s human rights webinar explored the interconnected challenges of human rights protection and climate change faced by Mindanaoans.

December 15, 2023—Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Mindanao Climate Justice Resource Facility, Inc. (MCJ) facilitated an online webinar entitled “Pakighiusa: A Discussion on Climate Change and Human Rights in Mindanao.” The webinar examined how specific human rights (HR) issues are interlinked with the climate crisis in the region.

The discussion entailed three topics covered by distinguished speakers and HR advocates in Mindanao. Professor Rufa Cagoco-Guiam discussed the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on the peace situation in the Bangsamoro areas. Meanwhile, environmental advocate Dr. Jean Lindo talked about climate change impacts on Mindanaoans’ right to health, drawing from her experience as a Davao-based doctor and HR advocate. Lastly, Fr. Raymond Ambray spoke on the situation of indigenous peoples’ human rights defenders (IPHRDs) in Mindanao, particularly key events in the past year.

The webinar featured youth and indigenous voices, with reactors from marginalized sectors giving their insights. Datu Dencio Kadingilan of the Dulangan Manobo tribe and officer of the Menubu Dulantan Tribal Justice and Self-Governance, discussed their struggle against land-grabbing of ancestral lands in Tubak, Ampatuan, Maguindanao Sur, and its effects on their community and the environment. Yel Nejal from the Youth for Climate Justice in Mindanao (YCJM) talked about the youth’s role in climate action, highlighting the importance of Metro Manila-based advocates standing in solidarity with Mindanaoans in the fight for climate justice.

The webinar was attended by students, teachers, and HR defenders and advocates from various organizations and religious formations. The online forum offered a look into grassroots communities grappling with climate change, providing timely insights as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) parties convened for COP28.