Ben Powless: I’m writing this right now from Peru after having taken part in a 5 day Indigenous Peoples Summit held in Puno, Peru in the high Andes. At that gathering we heard from representatives, including Alberto Pizango, elected representative of the Peruvian Amazonian peoples, about the ongoing protests they were waging, and the repression faced as a result, from their opposition to some of the plans the Peruvian government has for ‘developing’ the Amazon region and opening it for oil, mineral, logging, and agricultural exploitation, on the homelands of many Indigenous communities. In response, there have been over 50 days of continuous protest, shutting down parts of the Amazon and the Andes.
Reuters reports today that, “Protesters (in Peru) said 30 of their own died and the government said 22 members of their security forces perished in two days of clashes (in the Amazon jungle) over (President Alan) Garcia’s drive to bring foreign companies to the rainforest to open mines and drill for oil. The bloodshed has …threatened to derail the government’s push to further open Peru to foreign investors.”
“Indigenous tribes, worried they will lose control over natural resources, have protested since April seeking to force Congress to repeal new laws that encourage foreign mining and energy companies to invest billions of dollars in the rain forest.”
“Indigenous groups oppose laws passed last year as Garcia moved to bring Peru’s regulatory framework into compliance with a free-trade agreement with the United States.”
It should also be noted that the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement was signed in May 2008, approved by the House of Commons this past week, is expected to be approved by the Senate shortly, and will come into effect this July.
Global Response has a sample letter you can send to the Peruvian government and various United Nations agencies.
The letter includes a demand for the Peruvian government to respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. You may remember that Canada is now just one of three countries world-wide that opposes this declaration. More on that in the campaign blog
Reuters news article Tension roils Peru after deadly Amazon clashes
The Council of Canadians
Indians protesting government moves to develop oil, gas and other resources on their lands battled police in Peru’s Amazon on Friday, with authorities and Indian leaders separately reporting 11 police and 25 protesters deaths.
A well-oiled propaganda machine turns them from compassionate human beings into heartless parrots of state demagoguery, ready to ignore, excuse, and even support the starvation of the other nation with which they share the same land. The dehumanization of the Palestinians by Israel has dehumanized the Israelis themselves.
At least 30 people have died in the Peruvian Amazon during clashes between police and indigenous groups protesting against oil and gas exploration on ancestral lands.
With Emily Schaeffer, Israeli lawyer representing the village of Bil’in.
Saturday, June 6 at 7:00 PM.
Potluck at 6:00 PM. All welcome.
Renaissance College, 811 Charlotte St.
Bil’in is a Palestinian village that is struggling to exist. It is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources… its liberty. In a landmark lawsuit, the farming village of Bil’in is charging two Canadian companies for violating both international and Canadian domestic law, by acting as agents for Israel, constructing buildings and other residences in the West Bank, internationally recognized as an illegally occupied territory. Since 2005, Bil’in has been non-violently demonstrating against the building of settlements and the wall on their land. Bil’in has become an internationally celebrated symbol of Palestinian popular resistance to the ongoing construction of the Israeli apartheid wall. Bil’in will be presenting it’s case against Canadian companies, Quebec-based Green Park International and Green Mount International, June 22nd to 25th, 2009 in Montreal. Mohammed Khatib, a member of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, is not able to attend the Fredericton leg of the tour due to visa problems.
Emily W. Schaeffer of Michael Sfard Law Office is a licensed attorney in both the US and Israel and has been a member of the Israeli legal team representing the village of Bil’in since 2006. For 10 years, Atty. Schaeffer has advocated both in Israel and the US for social justice and human rights, including housing and gender-based rights, most recently focusing on international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Together with lead Canadian counsel, Atty. Mark Arnold, and Israeli Atty. Michael Sfard, Atty. Schaeffer represents Bil’in in its lawsuit against the Canadian Green Park and Green Mount corporations for violating international law by building Israeli settlements on the village’s land.
This event is endorsed by Fredericton Palestine Solidarity, Fredericton Peace Coalition, Fredericton
Islamic Association, CUPW, the Canada Palestine Association and Zatoun Olive Oil. For more information or to co-sponsor or make a donation to the Bil’in village tour of Canada, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Eight indigenous people are confirmed dead and 18 injured at a peaceful demonstration. Two days ago, the implementing legislation of the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement was passed in parliament. Indigenous peoples have vowed to continue protests until the Peruvian Congress revokes the “free trade” decrees issued by President Garcia under special powers granted by Congress in the context of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.
Here’s one anecdote that captures the man. While he was jailed for political reasons in late 2005, the priest took part of his prison rations and any extra food friends and family had brought him and distributed it to hungry residents of the neighborhood outside his prison cell window. Father Gérard Jean-Juste, one of Haiti’s most prominent liberation theology priests, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL on the afternoon of May 27 due to complications stemming from leukemia and a stroke he suffered in early March. He was 63.
CALL FOR URGENT ACTION: ENSURE THE GOVERNMENT COMPLIES WITH COURT ORDER TO BRING ABOUSFIAN ABDELRAZIK HOME
*Act now, before the government comes up with any more excuses*
Family members, lawyers and supporters of Abousfian Abdelrazik are delighted with today’s Federal Court order directing the Federal government to issue Mr. Abdelrazik an emergency passport and to arrange transportation for his return to Montreal within thirty days. The ruling found that Mr. Abdelrazik’s Charter right to enter Canada had been breached. The full decision can be found here.
However, Project Fly Home strongly agrees with the judge’s remark that the breach “was done in bad faith”.
To prepare against the possibility of more of the same bad faith, Project Fly Home is calling on all organizations and individual supporters to TAKE ACTION NOW to hold the government to the court order – before they have time to come up with more excuses.
As you know, the ticket that over 100 people from across Canada bought for Abousfian has been re-scheduled for 12 June. We suggest that this might be the easiest means for the government to bring Abousfian home promptly, in compliance with the court order. (However, if the government choses to bring Abousfian home more quickly than that, it is certainly welcome to do so!) At the same time, the civil society delegation slated to leave Montreal for Khartoum on Monday, June 8th to escort Abousfian home on June 12th has been postponed, but remains on standby.
Write to Minister Lawrence Cannon, copying Stephen Harper and your MP, asking him to comply with the court order to bring Abousfian Abdelrazik back to Montreal and suggesting that the government make use of the ticket that Abousfian already has for 12 June.
Telephone: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802
Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Contact details of MPs via www.parl.gc.ca (click on “Members of Parliament (Current)”).
To walk among these posts filled me with an intense feeling of sadness of lives being slowly suffocated as the mine creeps forward. To live among these posts, with the whines of mine machinery playing over the sound of the wildlife, appears to me like psychological torture for the remaining 17 families.