About us

PIPLinks exists to uphold and promote the collective and individual human rights of Indigenous Peoples and other land-based communities. We are committed to upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples to maintain and develop their culture, to live according to their beliefs, and to determine, control and benefit from any use of their lands and resources founded on a belief in the priority, for all human societies, of respect for human rights, including the rights of freedom of thought and belief and the intergenerational care for the earth.

Based in the United Kingdom, PIPLinks was founded in 1992 in response to requests for support from groups in the Cordillera region of the Philippines and is proud to maintain its links with and special focus upon the Philippines. We work in the Philippines, and also in the UK, Ireland, elsewhere in Europe and the international arena, because these are the source of many of the initiatives affecting indigenous communities.

PIPLinks fulfils its mission through providing support for capacity building, research and documentation, advocacy campaigns and linkage to wider support networks.

We offer information and educational support to indigenous organisations on issues including: Human rights, international processes and experiences on indigenous rights, development aggression in the forms of mining, dams, logging, and displacement and land grabbing by conservation projects, militarisation and others.

PIPLinks and its staff and Board have a deep and extensive experience and track record on the interconnected issues of Indigenous Peoples and extractive industries gained over decades of sustained work. We are an internationally acknowledged centre of expertise and a prominent advocate for improved standards of operation in the extractive industries sector which has strongly promoted respect for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples.

PIPLinks currently has three part-time consultants in the UK, based in an office in London and a part-time consultant based in the Philippines. We work with a small number of volunteers, whose main tasks are managing our resources and research, as well as having a voluntary board made up of made up of experts and partners based both in the UK and the Philippines. If you are interested in volunteering opportunities please contact us. We are a registered charity. CAFOD provide us with core-funding, with project-based funding from a number of sources.

We welcome inquiries, comments on this site and invitations to speak. We are always in need of active supporters, donations, volunteers and friends of all kinds.

A list of our achievements follow:-

PIPLinks was active within the Minewatch network throughout the 1990s, supplying information and providing campaign support to communities affected by mining.

In 1996, working with the World Council of Churches and Minewatch, we co-hosted the first International Indigenous Peoples and Mining Conference in London.

In 1997 we initiated and managed the Minewatch Asia Pacific project in cooperation with Catalino Corpuz - now of Tebtebba Foundation. Also in 1997, we organised with Cordillera Groups CWERC (Women’s Education Resource Center) and the CPA (Cordillera Peoples Alliance) the first global Women in Mining conference leading to the establishment of the Women in Mining Network. This network is still in operation.

In 2000 PIPLinks co-published with the World Rainforest Movement and Forest Peoples Programme and contributed to a publication “Undermining the Forest” on the activities of Canadian mining companies as they operate globally.1

In 2001 the office of the High Commission on Human Rights heeded repeated calls for a focus on the problems generated for indigenous peoples by mining. PIPLinks and Tebtebba advised the UN OHCHR in the calling of an expert workshop on the issue attended by indigenous organisations, academe, indigenous support organisations governments and corporations. Tebtebba and PIPLinks worked together to prepare the background paper for that workshop. PIPLinks also organised a series of side meetings during the Working Group in Indigenous Peoples involving indigenous peoples and industry representatives.

In 2001 PIPLinks became one of the initiators and founding editorial organisations of the Mines and Communities (MAC) website2. This site continues to provide an invaluable source of information on mining projects and associated issues and is used by communities, NGOs, corporations and investors. It has received up to 40,000 hits per month. We continue to actively support the MAC site and activities, including a commitment of staff time.

In 2003 we were closely involved in all phases of the civil society engagement with the World Bank’s Extractive Industries Review and co-authored a report “Extracting Promises Extracting Promises: Indigenous Peoples, Extractive Industries and the World Bank” on the impacts of mining on indigenous peoples and indigenous engagement with that process.

In 2004 PIPLinks authored and co-published a report “Breaking Promises, Making Profits-Mining in the Philippines” with Christian Aid.3

In 2005-6 after a global competitive selection process we worked in a consortium of groups and in cooperation with Rights and Democracy (Canada) to conduct a pilot study of the Human Rights Impacts of a Canadian mining company in the Philippines. Rights and Democracy Canada published the findings of this study. The research findings also formed the basis of a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) by the Consortium under the leadership of the Subanon organisations AMGP, Gukom and PBS. PIPLinks, Friends of the Earth Philippines and Tebtebba were active in supporting the preparation of this submission.4 The study also formed the basis for Subanon representations to the Canadian Parliament, which was one driver for a subsequent Bill for stricter regulation of Canadian mining companies.

In 2006 PIPLinks initiated the conduct of an independent investigative mission to the Philippines on the issue of mining headed by Clare Short MP. This led to the foundation of the London based Working Group on Mining in the Philippines, a broad grouping of NGOs and church groups and parliamentarians and others concerned by the abuses of human rights associated with rapid mining expansion planned for the Philippines. This group has developed dialogue with ethical investor and other faith-based groups in support of the wishes and aspirations of affected communities and Philippine partners, publishing two well-received expert reports in 2006 and 2008 respectively.5

Also in 2006, together with members of the UK-based Filipino community and concerned activists, PIPLinks staff were instrumental in forming the Campaign for Human in the Philippines, in response to the rising rights violations in the country, including of PIPLinks and CAFOD partners. The CHRP is still active today, having organised national conferences and speaker tours for human rights defenders. PIPLinks staff have provided continual support for the voluntary group, including using our office as the official organisational address.6

In 2007 we supported Subanon Indigenous organisations from the Philippines in making a submission and appeal to the UN CERD on the activities of a Canadian mining company (TVI Pacific) and the Philippine Government’s failure to protect the Subanon from these abuses. CAFOD chose this as one of their case studies in the Unearth Justice campaign, and PIPLinks staff were able to address CAFOD local groups on the case.7

In 2007, PIPLinks was one of the initiators of the London Mining Network, which is an alliance of human rights, development and environmental groups (including CAFOD as an observer group), seeking to expose the role of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, London-based funders and the British Government in the promotion of unacceptable mining projects. Geoff Nettleton Coordinator of PIPLinks was the first Chairperson of the London Mining Network. Andy Whitmore PIPLinks’ Research and Communications officer is a current co-chair person.8

In 2009 as part of a continuing engagement with UN CERD we worked to build a broad coalition of indigenous peoples organisations and support groups which prepared a unified civil society shadow report on the Philippine situation to UN CERD.

In 2009 PIPLinks worked in cooperation with Tebtebba Foundation to organise a Manila-based global conference of Indigenous Peoples on the extractive industries and a concurrent UN Expert workshop on the same issue. Participants in this conference established a global Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries Network, with PIPLinks and Tebtebba acting as secretariat, organising annual meetings of the network contact points. PIPLinks staff member Andy Whitmore authored/edited a 420 page handbook coming out of the conference, called “Pitfalls and Pipelines”.9

In 2009, in cooperation with Alamin (Alliance against Mining in Mindoro) and indigenous and NGO groups in Norway, we filed a successful complaint with the Norwegian National contact point of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. It resulted in a field investigation and a 2011 statement upholding the view of Mindoro indigenous and civil society groups that mining company Intex had failed to secure the legally required consent.

In 2010, PIPLinks undertook a consortium-led, European Union funded programme in the Philippines to conduct training and capacity building in selected mines-affected communities. For its part of the work, PIPLinks conducted training in communities on international aspects of advocacy and human rights mechanisms. We have been able to develop this further in other communities in the Philippines.

In 2012, as part of our ongoing work to press for the implementation of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, PIPLinks in co-operation with the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility and Middlesex University launched a project of research and advocacy to achieve the full and respectful implementation of free prior informed consent as a prerequisite to mining activity within indigenous territories. In 2013 we launched our research report, Making Free Prior Informed Consent a Reality, with a roundtable seminar which was attended by Prof. James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, indigenous leaders, representatives of major mining companies and NGOs and academics. We are continuing with this project to proceed to acceptance of FPIC as a standard part of corporate practice.10

In 2013 we were involved in the creation of a South and Southeast Asian Network of indigenous Peoples affected by Extractive Industries at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. We are part of its executive board.