With this campaign ASMAA aims to create a platform where the people can voice their human rights infringement concerns. The campaign starts by focusing on the primary concern areas arising from offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration including the use of hydraulic fracturing and other non-conventional technologies will have on their lives, the environment and local economy.
It has become abundantly clear in the past few months that the Portuguese government is not taking cognisance of people’s objections to oil and gas exploration in Portugal and that a new strategy is required to get them to listen.
“Dar Voz ao Povo – Giving Voice to the People” is an opportunity for people to participate actively in their personal capacity and to share with the world their personal views, opinions, experiences and concerns regarding onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration in Portugal.
There are six human rights impact areas that have been identified:
- Human Health – deals with the human rights dimensions of adverse impacts on all dimensions of human physical and mental health.
- Environmental, ecosystem, hydrologic and seismicity – looks at the human rights dimensions of adverse environmental, ecosystem and wildlife impacts as well as impacts on air, surface water, groundwater and earthquakes risks.
- Infrastructure – looks at the human rights dimensions of exploration, drilling, fracking, extraction and delivery processes as well as of the infrastructure needed for transport, storage and export of product and waste (e.g., pipelines, storage facilities, waste treatment facilities, waste water disposal, LNG terminals, etc).
- Climate impacts – looks at all the human rights dimensions, for both present and future generations, of oil and gas exploration, fracking and climate change, including of governments’ continued subsidizing of fossil fuels.
- Public participation – looks at the human rights dimensions of public participation (or lack thereof) in decision-making about conventional and unconventional oil and gas exploration, extraction and policy-making.
- Social costs – looks at the human rights dimensions of social and cultural impacts on individuals, families and communities.
The campaign aims to give the general public a real seat at the table when government decisions are being made in regard to oil and gas exploration in Portugal as these decisions have a direct impact on them. Most individuals that we have spoken with, believe that the common sense of the people can help break through polarization and gridlock, find common ground and lead to governments that better serves the common good.
When given correct information, the public as a whole shows remarkable intelligence. And, research shows, most people think about what serves the common good, not just what’s in their own personal interest. But the systems now in place to give the people a voice in most governments are inadequate and the people know it. Calls, letters and even petitions are just not enough, as in the last few months it has became abundantly clear that something new is needed to ensure that Portuguese government leaders listens to the people.
This campaign will invite written, photographic and video contributions from the public.
These contributions will also be used to support a submission by ASMAA to the European Parliament, and as support evidence in any future legal action required to be taken against the Portuguese government in the European Court of Justice as well as being added to other international campaigns fighting against reckless offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration that specifically use unconventional drilling technologies such as Fracking (hydraulic fracturing).