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Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines continues climate change inquiry despite company questions re jurisdiction

Author: Hannah Fernandez, Eco-business, Published on: 14 December 2017

"Companies in climate probe could lose investors: Philippine Human Rights Commission," 14 Dec 2017

[Roberto Cadiz, Commissioner with]...the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines warned... that companies who do not participate proactively in an ongoing investigation about their role in contributing to climate change stand to lose their investors... Filipino typhoon survivors, other communities suffering the impacts of climate change, and civil society organisations... petitioned the Commission to investigate the role that  47 [fossil fuel] companies played in contributing to natural disasters... In response to the petition, The CHR in October this year sent notices to the companies... requesting them to attend the 11 December meeting to discuss how the investigation will be conducted, and submit evidence and the names of supporting witnesses... Only two legal representatives from cement giant CEMEX appeared at the CHR headquarters, along with 10 other respondents, all of whom filed submissions questioning the jurisdiction of the commission...

Cadiz maintained that although the CHR of the Philippines has no territorial jurisdiction over the companies and cannot compel them to appear before the commission, it will still proceed with the enquiry.... “If we do come up with... recommendations that seem averse to companies, then they will only have themselves to blame, for not showing up, for not joining this dialogue,” he added...

In a statement sent to Eco-Business responding to the petition, Shell reiterated that its support for climate change is well-known and has been documented in its sustainability reports for the past two decades. “Whilst Shell has great respect for the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, we do not believe this is the right forum to address the issues raised here, which fall outside the organisation’s mandate. Climate change is a global, societal challenge that should be addressed through sound government policy that stimulates low-carbon choices for businesses and consumers,” the statement read.

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