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Landmark investigation and resolution of the Commission on Human Rights of Philippines against 47 mu

In our past article:

We discussed the background of the investigation against the 47 Carbon Majors by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (“CHR”). We have been following closely the past five hearings in Manila, New York and London over the past two years. The investigation is almost completed and the petitioners hope that the Commission will issue precedent-setting actions in its final report and resolution, including the following recommendations:

  1. The establishment of clear mechanisms and processes for redressing human rights victims resulting from climate change;

  2. The establishment of standards for corporate reporting on activities involving carbon emissions;

  3. Clarification and confirmation of the rights connected with climate justice under regional and international human rights law; and

  4. The development of a model statute on legal remedies for climate change

The investigation report and resolution from the CHR were issued on December 9, 2019 at COP 25.

The CHR found that climate change constitutes an emergency situation that demands urgent action. The Commission further concluded that Carbon Major companies played "a clear role in anthropogenic climate change and its attendant impacts." The CHR found that, based on the evidence, Carbon Major companies could be found legally and morally liable for human rights violations arising from climate change.

While the Commission did not undertake to adjudicate the responsibility of the Carbon Major companies, it concluded that people affected by climate change and whose human rights have been dramatically impaired deserve access to remedy and access to justice. Significantly, the CHR found that in circumstances may exist to hold companies accountable under not only civil but criminal laws.

No actions have yet commenced against any of the Carbon Major companies.

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