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December 17, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras: Two Detained and Fear of Evictions by Coup Security Forces in Land Recuperations in Colon

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Honduras: Two Detained and Fear of Evictions by Coup Security Forces in Land Recuperations in Colón

by Sandra Cuffe
December 17, 2009

Two active members of the Aguan Farmworkers Unification Movement (MUCA) were detained at approximately 11am yesterday, December 16th when they left a land recuperation in the department of Colon, in northeastern Honduras.

Osman Alexis Ulloa Flores and Mario René Ayala were taken to the police station in Tocoa and remain in detention in the city. Local police authorities refused to comment via telephone on the arrest or charges. However, the local district attorney was able to confirm that the men have been charged with land usurpation, while resistance lawyers in the region confirmed that the accusing party is the Cressida Corporation owned by powerful businessman and landowner Miguel Facussé Barjum.

One week prior to the detentions, approximately one thousand families belonging to MUCA staged two simultaneous recuperations of contested lands in Colon. Claimed by Miguel Facussé, the La Confianza Cooperative in the municipality of Tocoa includes a producing African palm plantation. The San Esteban Cooperative in the municipality of Trujillo, meanwhile, is claimed by Nicaraguan landowner René Morales. Prior to the mid-1990s, a period commonly referred to as the 'agrarian counter-reform' of Honduras, the lands in question belonged to agricultural cooperatives co-owned by many of the very same farmworkers now involved in the MUCA actions.

» continue reading "Honduras: Two Detained and Fear of Evictions by Coup Security Forces in Land Recuperations in Colon"

October 29, 2009 Weblog:

Harry and the Akwesasne People's Fire

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With his CBSA helmet and raingear, honorary firekeeper "Harry" watches over the Akwesasne People's Fire on Kahwenoke ('Cornwall Island'). The fire has been burning at the main crossroads since May 1, 2009 and now, nearly six months later, a building constructed by community members so that elders and others may stay warm over the winter is nearly complete.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) building, abandoned since June 1st, looms in the background. CBSA abandoned the post within the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve when residents announced their rejection of the Canadian government's plan to arm the CBSA agents on June 1st. Police shut down the international Seaway bridges and border crossing just minutes before midnight June 1st, as hundreds of Mohawk residents gathered to protest the imminent arming of CBSA agents within their territory.

The bridge and border crossing were re-opened in mid-July, when CBSA set up a makeshift post at the foot of the bridge over in the city of Cornwall, Ontario. After decades of racial profiling and harassment, Akwesasne residents have now been facing heavy fines and vehicle seizures by CBSA if after crossing into New York they do not immediately drive straight through the island and get in the often lengthy one lane line-up on the bridge to report to CBSA. Island residents are also obligated to wait in the line and go through Canadian customs even when only traveling from Kahwenoke into Cornwall for groceries, appointments, or to pick up their children from high school.

» continue reading "Harry and the Akwesasne People's Fire"

October 16, 2009 Weblog:

Stop the Expansion of Peterborough Nukes - by KITTOH

[Article by KITTOH reposted from the Eagle Watch e-list:]

Stop the Expansion of Peterborough Nukes:
No More Nuclear Madness

by KITTOH

October 16, 2009

The nuclear industry raving lunatics want to build many more nuclear reactors all over the world, especially in Asia. They say it is for "peaceful" purposes only. They call it "green" energy. Wow! What an insult to people's intelligence.

We know that ANY nuclear development and proliferation are about making war and killing people, either quickly with bombs or slowly with nuclear waste.

Indigenous communities in Cree/Dene territory (Saskatchewan, Canada), Ongwehonwe and Nishnaabe territory (Ontario, Canada), Australia, Navaho/Pueblo Territory (New Mexico and Four Corners, USA), Kazakhstan, Niger and elsewhere are being targeted to accept the waste and to endure the devastation of more uranium mining. We have a responsibility to speak out against this insanity for the sake of our future generations who will inherit this horrible legacy.

It looks like somebody wants to foment nuclear war in Asia where the majority of the world's population live. China and Japan have nuclear technologies. India and Pakistan already have nuclear weapons. Pakistan is quickly being drawn into the US led war on Afghanistan. There is no end in sight to this insane carnage and destruction.

» continue reading "Stop the Expansion of Peterborough Nukes - by KITTOH"

August 27, 2009 Weblog:

Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas

by Isain Mandujano, published on Proceso.com.mx

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, August 26th. - After eight days of detention, the State Judicial system's Attorney General's Office (PGJE, for its Spanish acronym) freed activist Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was accused by Canadian corporation Blackfire Exploration Ltd of affecting the company's economic interests, due to the highway blockades led by Abarca Roblero.

According to the court document #033/FS10/2009 in the case taken up by the State Attorney for Relevant Issues of the PGJE, Abarca Roblero was accused of attacks against public roadways, criminal association, organized criminal activity, offences against the peace and the physical and public integrity of the collective and of the State.

Mariano Abarca was detained on August 17th by state police agents when he was leaving a primary school, where he left a letter requesting permission for the school premises to be used this weekend for the second national gathering of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Mineria, REMA).

According to his lawyer, Miguel Angel de los Santos Cruz, the police were supposedly in possession of an "order to appear," which they never revealed.

"In theory, this order does not imply detention. However, when he was taken to the State Attorney's office and gave his declaration, his detention was ordered immediately thereafter. Because detention only permits the judicial system to hold someone for 48 hours, the order was requested for 30 days," he said.

De los Santos added that Abarca was detained for eight days in the PGJE detention center.

» continue reading "Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas"

August 18, 2009 Weblog:

[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining

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Photo: Landholder Mariano Abarca speaking about an ongoing blockade in his community in Chiapas against Canadian mining corporation Blackfire. Abarca, a well-known opponent of Canadian mining corporations in his municipality, was [detained] on August 17, 2009. REMA.

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UPDATE POSTED AUGUST 19th by MiningWatch.ca:

Update (August 19, 2009): Mariano Abarca is safe and sound. Thank you to all who responded to the urgent action.

According to the latest reports, Mariano Abarca is being held by the Public Ministry in Tuxtla Gutiérrez; the armed men who abducted him seem to have been undercover police. He was not injured and is reportedly being held on charges of disturbing the peace, blocking public roads, organized crime, criminal association, and 200,000 pesos in damages, all relating to a blockade that Abarca and other residents have maintained against Blackfire Resources' mining operations since June of this year.

According to the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), Mariano's abduction and arrest, and the overblown charges, are clear attempts to criminalise legitimate protest, intimidate local people, and disrupt the group's planned August 29-30 meeting in Chicomuselo. REMA spokespeople say they are working to secure Abarca's release, and that the meeting will go ahead regardless.

Clearly the immediate local and international response have been very helpful in assuring Abarca's security. We are awaiting word from REMA as to what further actions are needed.

[update posted by MiningWatch Canada @ http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/blackfire/ua_mariano_abarca]

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ORIGINAL DOMINION BLOG RE-POST:

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Reposting of a REMA (Mexican Network of Communities Affected by Mining) urgent action:

» continue reading "[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining"

August 16, 2009 Weblog:

"The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained and hospitalized in Honduras

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"The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained, and hospitalized in Honduras

Text, translation and photos by Sandra Cuffe

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, August 15th, 2009.

Repression against the national movement against the military coup in Honduras has become a daily occurrence. All over the country, police and the army are using tactics of terror and violence to disperse protests and illegally detain demonstrators.

Nevertheless, the resistance actions coordinated by the National Front of Resistance to the Military Coup in Honduras (FNRCGE, for its acronym in Spanish) continue to grow across the nation.

On August 14th, organizations and citizens in resistance from the northwestern region of the country mobilized in Choloma, blocking vehicle traffic along the highway between San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortés. It was a very strategic choice of location, along the main highway leading to the country's main port. Puerto Cortés has a great volume of exports, principally to the United States, of textile goods from the maquila factories in the northwestern region, as well as the fruits of the Tela Railroad Company, subsidiary of the transnational banana company Chiquita.

Soon after the highway blockade began, there was a negotiation between resistance leaders and police officials, supposedly in order to avoid yet another violent eviction. According to witnesses, a verbal agreement was made between the two parties to allow the protest to continue for another hour and peacefully disperse.

» continue reading ""The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained and hospitalized in Honduras"

August 14, 2009 Weblog:

just another day [of indiscriminate police violence] in Honduras...

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Police brutality, militarization, torture, political murders, disappearances, injuries, tear gas, illegal detentions, State forces' use of sexual and gender violence, intimidation, paramilitary activity, death threats, censorship...

...are all becoming DAILY OCCURRENCES IN HONDURAS.

Ongoing international solidarity needed. Now.

Sandra Cuffe
sandra.m.cuffe@gmail.com
http://HondurasSolidarity.wordpress.com
http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda

August 2, 2009 Weblog:

Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras

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[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]

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[re-posted from www.RIGHTSACTION.org email list]:

IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS

Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
(Alert#41)

On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html

As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.

GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING

Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.

As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada. He is not speaking in his personal capacity. Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.

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» continue reading "Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras"

July 23, 2009 Weblog:

Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining: DEFENDING THE SACRED WIRADJURI HEARTLAND ["AUSTRALIA"]

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[Indigenous Ipili human rights activist Jethro Tulin and traditional landowner Mark Ekepa from Papua New Guinea listen to NEVILLE "CHAPPY" WILLIAMS denounce Barrick Gold mine in sacred heartland of Wiradjuri People. PHOTO: Sandra Cuffe, 2008.]
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RE-POSTING EXCERPT FROM 'MOTHER AFRICA' BLOG - http://justiceinunjustworld.blogspot.com/ - BY AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVIST EVANS RUBERA, OUTSPOKEN CRITIC OF BARRICK GOLD MINING IN AFRICA:

[...]

Neville Chappy Williams, who has consistently opposed the open-pit mine at Lake Cowal in the middle of the Murray-Darling Basin, has delivered documents to the Deputy Canadian High Commissioner, Mr René Cremonese, and the Minerals Council of Australia in Canberra as part of the Global Day of Action against open-pit mining.

Neville Chappy Williams is a Traditional Owner of Lake Cowal and has fought many court cases against mining at Lake Cowal.

“It is my sacred duty to protect Lake Cowal and our ancient cultural heritage. We will never give up. I will fight to the bitter end.” Currently, he has halted the proposed expansion of the gold mine in Barrick v Williams in the NSW Court of Appeal.

“The Lake Cowal gold mine operated by Barrick Gold from Toronto, Canada is desecrating our sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri between the Kalara/Lachlan and the Murrumbidgee rivers in central west New South Wales."

[...]

July 22, 2009 Weblog:

Anti-mining group to stage 36 hour sit-in at Canadian Embassy in Mexico City

Press Release

- For immediate release -

ANTI-MINING GROUP TO STAGE 36 HOUR SIT-IN AT CANADIAN EMBASSY IN MEXICO CITY

Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO) marks Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining in opposition to New Gold Inc.’s Cerro de San Pedro mine in Mexico

Mexico City, July 21, 2009 – Anti-mining activists are marking the first ever Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit mining with a 36-hour sit-in outside the Canadian Embassy building in Mexico City.

The action is being planned by the Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO), a coalition opposed to Canadian corporation New Gold’s Cerro de San Pedro open-pit gold and silver mine in Central Mexico. New Gold Inc. is based in British Columbia.

“The sit-in is a nonviolent protest to demand that the Canadian government intervene in the case of New Gold’s Cerro de San Pedro mine”, said FAO member Juan Carlos Ruiz Guadalajara. “The mine is still operating despite having lost its environmental permit in a recent court ruling. We are reminding the embassy that we will continue to raise our voices against corruption, human rights abuses and environmental destruction”.

Mexican Secretary of the Economy figures reveal that more than 70% of all mining exploration, development and production projects in Mexico are owned by Canadian corporations. Canadian mining companies have benefited from legal reforms that the Mexican government adopted in order to accommodate NAFTA and draw foreign investment.

Open-pit mines, such as Cerro de San Pedro, have generated controversy due to their devastating environmental and social impacts.

» continue reading "Anti-mining group to stage 36 hour sit-in at Canadian Embassy in Mexico City"

July 15, 2009 Weblog:

Tune in!: Online radio show on media battles in Honduras

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LISTEN ONLINE TO THE SHOW!

Political upheaval continues in Honduras, after liberal leader Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup in late June. It is a battle that has played out not only in the streets of Honduras, but also on television screens and over radio waves across the world.

Some, including U.S. President Barack Obama and the Organization of American States, have condemned the ouster of the democratically-elected president, saying it was unconstitutional, illegal and a threat to democracy.

Others point out that Zelaya was pushing ahead with a referendum on term limits that Honduras’ Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional, and consider his removal the result of healthy checks and balances.

The Honduran military has clamped down on pro-Zelaya channels in the country and blocked the signal of Telesur, a left-leaning television network based in Venezuela. Other state-run media across Latin America have broadcast programs in support of Zelaya.

Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show on explored the coup in Honduras and how Latin America’s media industry — from state-run stations to independent websites — has become a political battleground.

Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosts the following panel of guests:

Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada­. Sandra has reported from Latin America for several years and is the Honduras correspondent for UpsideDownWorld.org.

» continue reading "Tune in!: Online radio show on media battles in Honduras"

July 4, 2009 Weblog:

DominionPaper.ca & MediCoop.ca contributing member reporting from the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras!

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to see the other 99 photos of the July 3 2009 march against the coup through the streets of Tegucigalpa: http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda

please feel free to re-post, forward, etc my info... will be posting regularly to this blog, the MediaCoop.ca & all other media below & available to write articles of various lengths and focuses on short notice. get in touch!

grassroots reporting from the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras...

Sandra Cuffe

Freelance journalist, photographer, contributing member of DominionPaper.ca & MediaCoop.ca, and Honduras correspondent for UpsideDownWorld.org

Honduran cell = (504) 9525-6778
Canadian cell = (514) 5... [while in Honduras, voicemail & text messages only!]
public email = sandra.m.cuffe@gmail.com
twitter = SandraCuffeHN
facebook = Sandra Cuffe
photos = http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda
video [content up soon!] = http://www.youtube.com/user/lavagabunda27
Honduras blog [content up soon!] = http://hondurassolidarity.wordpress.com
Dominion blog = http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/sandra
Akwesasne blog = http://akwesasnecounterspin.wordpress.com

June 15, 2009 Weblog:

Media Release: Akwesasne Community Activists Arrested on "National Reconciliation Day"; bail hearing today in Cornwall

Kahwenoke, Akwesasne, Sovereign Mohawk Territory
June 15, 2009.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AKWESASNE COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS DENOUNCING CBSA AND POLICE HARASSMENT AND RACIAL PROFILING ARRESTED IN CORNWALL ON NATIONAL RECONCILIATION DAY

Bail hearing for Dwayne David set for 9:30am Monday, June 15th at 29 Second Street West, Cornwall, Ontario

On June 11th, dubbed "National Reconciliation Day" to conmemorate the one-year anniversary of the Government of Canada's official apology to First Nations for the residential school system, Akwesasne community residents Khristy Sawatis and Dwayne David were arrested by Cornwall police.

Dwayne David remains in police custody until his bail hearing, which has been set for 9:30am on Monday, June 15th, at the Ontario Court of Justice, located at 29 Second Street West in Cornwall, Ontario. Akwesasne residents, outside supporters, and media will all be present.

Only a few nights prior to his arrest, around the sacred fire at the main crossroads on Kahwenoke ("Cornwall Island") across the International Road from the now-abandoned Canadian Customs and Immigration building, David commented on the reaction to the apology of many traditional Akwesasne community members, many of whom are residential school survivors themselves: "The real people cried, because it wasn't real. It was a show."

» continue reading "Media Release: Akwesasne Community Activists Arrested on "National Reconciliation Day"; bail hearing today in Cornwall"

June 12, 2009 Weblog:

NAFTA Tribunal recognizes sacred place of Quechan Tribe – denies Glamis Gold's claim in full

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[Photo (2008) by Sandra Cuffe of an old Glamis mining claim stake in an area of traditional Quechan territory that is an ancient sacred trail between two sacred mountains.]

[Repost: http://www.indianlaw.org/node/424]

June 9, 2009

Fort Yuma, CALIFORNIA/ARIZONA -- Today, the NAFTA Tribunal in the Glamis Gold dispute against the United States released its long-awaited decision.

The Tribunal found that the State of California's and the United States' actions in regulating hard rock mining on public lands did NOT violate provisions of NAFTA.

"We were the first tribe to have our briefs accepted in a NAFTA claim dispute" stated Mike Jackson, Sr., President, Quechan Nation. "The award shows that the Tribunal understood that the Indian Pass area is a sacred area to the Quechan people, worthy of protection from hard rock mining. After battling the mining company for nearly fifteen years, it is good to have this decided. We encourage Glamis (now GoldCorp) to take immediate steps to put the matter behind all of us."

Such steps could include GoldCorp not appealing the decision and abandoning or otherwise relinquishing its mining claims so that the existing withdrawal of the area from new mining claims would absorb the area proposed for the mine. Glamis must also pay two-thirds of all proceeding costs.

» continue reading "NAFTA Tribunal recognizes sacred place of Quechan Tribe – denies Glamis Gold's claim in full"

June 1, 2009 Weblog:

NOII-Mtl: Akwesasne Update - Mohawks vow to resist armed border guards

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From: No One Is Illegal Montreal

[English below]

[Une delegation des militantes de Montréal – incluant une membre de Personne n’est illégal-Montréal -- est présentement à Akwesasne (territoire Mohawk, à la frontière de l'Ontario, New York et Québec) comme témoins de la résistance communautaire contre les douaniers armés. Quelques articles expliquant la situation, principalement en anglais, mais aussi en français, sont ci-dessous. Il y aura des mises à jour de la situation à Akwesasne sur le blogue de Personne n’est illégal ici]

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“[The Canadian Border Service Agency] is a foreign oppressive force who occupies our sovereign community and territory. (They are) unwelcome, uninvited and now carrying firearms. For lack of a different description, that is considered by some an act of war.” – Larry King, member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory (quoted in Ottawa Citizen, May 29, 2009)

[A delegation of three non-native Montreal activists, including a member of No One Is Illegal-Montreal, is currently at the site of protesters at the Kawehnoke Port of Entry (Cornwall Island) on the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne. Native protesters at Akwesasne are welcoming allies to stand in solidarity, and to witness their efforts to resist the imposition of armed guards on Mohawk territory.

The No One Is Illegal-Montreal website will have updates directly from Akwesasne, as well as maintain a mainstream and alternative news compilation, at the following link]

-- CBSA guards abandon posts

» continue reading "NOII-Mtl: Akwesasne Update - Mohawks vow to resist armed border guards"

May 27, 2009 Weblog:

Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea

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[photo: Jethro Tulin reading a statement in front of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, right before the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting, April 29, 2009. photo by Sandra Cuffe.]

Earlier today, indigenous Ipili human rights activist Jethro Tulin, executive director of the Akali Tange Association in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, registered and read a formal statement to the plenary of the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. The statement follows below.

After the UNPFII ends this coming Friday, Jethro Tulin will be traveling to Washington DC for a series of meetings. Before returning to Papua New Guinea, he will be speaking at a series of public events in Montreal, Ottawa (tbc) and Toronto, between June 5th and June 9th.

For more general information, see ProtestBarrick.net

For more information about (or to help coordinate) events, contact: Sandra Cuffe, 514-583-6432, lavagabunda27@yahoo.es
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A Statement
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session

Intervention by: Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer of Akali Tange Association (Porgera, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea)

Supported by: Asia Caucus, Pacific Caucus, Western Shoshone Defense Project (Nevada, USA), Peoples Earth, Society for Threatened Peoples International (ECOSOC), Indigenous Peoples Link

Item 7: Future Work of the UNPFII
New York, May 27, 2009.

» continue reading "Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea"

May 26, 2009 Weblog:

An Alternative Memorial Day Celebration: reviving our radical collective historic memory

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MEMORIALIZING THOSE FALLEN IN DEFENSE OF THEIR COMMUNITIES

[aka How to Make Real Sure You're on the Terrorist Watch List]

New York City, May 25, 2009.

Flyer: Sakura Saunders
Photos: Sandra Cuffe
Inspiration: The Missing Plaque Project in Toronto

Image #1: Our flyer...

Image #2: Good ideas are FREE!

Image #3: The real news (Columbia University in the background).

Image #4: 3940 Broadway in the Washington Heights neighbourhood north of Harlem. The building was the Audubon Ballroom at the time of Malcolm X's assassination during a speech in the packed hall on February 21, 1965.

Image #5: Statue of Malcolm X in the lower left corner marks the spot of his assassination in what is now a museum known as the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

Image #6: Central Park at night.

Image #7: In front of the American Museum of Natural History, there is a peculiar statue. Theodore Roosevelt is riding majestically on horseback, flanked on either side by an African man and a Native American man, both on foot. Perhaps it is in fact meant as a subtly critical piece concerning forced marches, but the statue seems to embody the myth that one great country was built by all, side by side. It seemed like a good place (thanks for the tip, Ben!) to chalk: FREE LEONARD PELTIER, NATIVE AMERICAN P.O.W.

» continue reading "An Alternative Memorial Day Celebration: reviving our radical collective historic memory"

» view more photos in"An Alternative Memorial Day Celebration: reviving our radical collective historic memory"

May 23, 2009 Weblog:

UNPFII, IEN & REDD: Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples & U.N. credibility

Watch a Democracy Now interview with Indigenous Environmental Network executive director Tom Goldtooth about climate change. The interview is from May 22nd, at the end of the first week of the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) taking place at UN headquarters in New York City, May 18-29, 2009.

Last year, the theme of the UNPFII was climate change. Despite vocal opposition from the vast majority of the participating indigenous delegates, a document produced by the Permanent Forum chairs included support for a World Bank market-oriented carbon-trading initiative called REDD - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. When their voices of opposition and protest were not going to be immediately permitted to be heard, the indigenous caucus and in particular a vocal contingent from the Americas began a loud chorus: "!La palabra! !La palabra!..." ['We want to speak!']

The "May Revolt" occurred on May 2, 2008, on the very last day of the 7th session of the UNPFII. An excellent video of the "revolt" and interviews with Tom Goldtooth, Art Manuel and others was produced by activist Rebecca Sommer for Earth Peoples and can be found on youtube.

» continue reading "UNPFII, IEN & REDD: Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples & U.N. credibility"

May 21, 2009 Weblog:

UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool

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Greetings from the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (New York City, May 18-29)...

I write from the inner (ie you need an event or staff pass to get here) cafe & main networking area. And I'm smoking. Inside. Because it's international territory. Actually, there are prominent no smoking signs all over the place. A large sign reads "The United Nations General Assembly has decided to implement a complete ban on smoking at United Nations Headquarters indoor premises." And yet, dozens of people - including UN staff - are smoking away, all day. Could there be an incredibly amusing parallel between the lack of implementation of the indoor smoking ban and the role of the UN in the world?

Along with a growing multitude of people, many of the 2000+ indigenous delegates are increasingly critical of the corporatization of the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. Although we all enjoyed the free wine and music.

It has been amazing to run into people from last year's Longest Walk 2, the Protecting Mother Earth conference, and to meet new people(s) attending the forum. The conversations range from Canadian Assembly of First Nations representatives traveling to Latin America to promote mining in indigenous communities to the ongoing State of Emergency in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, to the Mapuche flag, to journalism in Africa, and everything in between... There are dozens of parallel and alternative events occurring both on and offsite.

» continue reading "UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool"

» view more photos in"UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool"

May 11, 2009 Weblog:

free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12

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[photo: One of several hands-on activities geared towards kids is the mining worker dress-up costume. The Xstrata folks did not mind this photo being taken under the Goldcorp-sponsored mining booth; instead, they appeared highly amused.]

[image #2: "Did you know?" counterspin fliers. Print & copy!]

A free Mining in Society fair is taking place at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre yesterday, today and tomorrow (May 10-12). The annual event is billed as a place to "learn about the important role the minerals industry plays in your everyday life!"

Kids' activities include panning for gold, dressing up as a miner, matching minerals and metals with everyday products, colouring in mining-related drawings, and many others. Hundreds of school-age children will be attending the fair today and tomorrow.

Aside from the kids' activities, there are plenty of booths with interesting information, maps, and plenty of free stuff. If you don't mind corporate logos on your pens, notebooks, water bottles, key chains, highlighters, and other assorted paraphernalia, then you can get your office supplies for the next year. My personal favourite is the little yellow Suncor truck! There is also a small career fair for those of you considering gainful employment with Goldcorp, Shell, Freeport, Suncor...

» continue reading "free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12"

» view more photos in"free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12"

May 7, 2009 Weblog:

Asbestos, Quebec: A Graphic Novel/une bande dessinee

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[disponible en français ici.]

Asbestos, PQ: A Graphic Novel/Une bande dessinée is a new addition to Dr. Joy Parr's Megaprojects/Lostscapes website. Based on the dissertation research of Jessica van Horssen, this graphic novel presents a history of the town of Asbestos, Québec from the perspective of the Jeffrey Mine, the largest chrysotile asbestos mine in the world. Viewing the community's history from this perspective offers a new angle from which to view how people and place grow, change and depend on each other. Follow the triumphs and tragedies of this community at: http://megaprojects.fims.uwo.ca.

May 6, 2009 Weblog:

May 11: Mining Company to Stake Claim on Mount Royal

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For immediate and widespread distribution:

Québec – Canada – Americas

mining, human rights and citizens’ rights


an open-pit mine on the mont-royal?

see : www.royalor.com

citizens’-action

may 11 2009

Mont-Royal 1 :30 -2 :30

(at the gazebo at Duluth & Parc)

Representatives of different communities affected by Canadian open-pit mining projects will stake a claim on the mineral rights of the Mont-Royal. Their aim is to symbolically demonstrate the harms and prejudices faced by their communities whether in Québec, elsewhere in Canada , in Mexico , in Honduras , in Chile or in Papua New-Guinea. The claim will be duly filed with the Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec.

Come one, come all to call for :

1. a reform of mining laws

2. the legal accountability of canadian companies operating abroad

3. a public debate free of « slapp » suits
________

In collaboration with Coalition québécoise sur les impacts socio-environnementaux des transnationales en Amérique Latine and many other organizations. For more information : Lazar Konforti 514.827.7486 lazar.konforti@gmail.com, Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert 514.398.4251 daviken.studnicki-gizbert@mcgill.ca. An event organized in conjunction with the Cadre des activités parallèles du 5e Congrès mondial d’éducation relative à l’environnement (www.5weec.uqam.ca), May 10 - 15 Palais des Congrès Montréal.

April 30, 2009 Weblog:

Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto

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On April 29th, as Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold held its annual general meeting inside Toronto's Metro Convention Centre, a colourful protest took place across the street.

Indigenous leaders from Diaguita territory in Chile, affected by Barrick's upcoming Pascua Lama mega-project, and from Ipili territory in Papua New Guinea, were permitted to address the AGM as proxy shareholders.

While the company recognized that there have been "some deaths" around the mine in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, Barrick vehemently denied any link to or responsibility for the documented extrajudicial killings, harassment by company security forces, or - more recently - the grave human rights violations currently continuing under a State of Emergency in Porgera.

A national newspaper in Papua New Guinea ran a
front page story on April 30th about security forces burning the homes of several hundred landowners living around the mine. Community activists involved with the Porgera Landowners' Association estimated that the number of torched homes has reached between 500-600 as of April 30th.

Protest Barrick, an activist network that has been working to link affected communities and raise awareness about the issues they are facing, has organized a speaking tour in southern Ontario and Montreal over the next two weeks, with the participation of affected community leaders.

» continue reading "Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto"

» view more photos in"Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto"

April 29, 2009 Weblog:

Tamil Protest Shuts Down Major Toronto Ave

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This morning, Torontonians making their way down University Avenue, a major north/south downtown traffic artery, encountered a vocal gathering of mainly Tamil-Canadians, protesting State repression of Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka.

Long before 9am, a 2-block section of University between Dundas and Queen streets was completely blocked by the large demonstration and surrounded by police barricades, bikes and agents. The police presence did not seem to bother the energetic crowd, chanting slogans such as "Stop the Genocide!" and "Tamils Want a Permanent Ceasefire! When Do We Want it? NOW!"

One participant commented that while mobilizations in Ottawa have been much larger, there have nevertheless been consistent actions in Toronto over the past three months or so. Another explained that just this morning, there were more than another 200 people killed. "It's a very difficult situation," he added.

A Human Rights Watch report states that recently "obtained information places total civilian casualties at 7,000, with 2,000 deaths... All displaced persons crossing to the government side are sent to internment centers in Vavuniya and nearby locations. These are military controlled, barbed-wire camps..."

Along with an immediate permanent ceasefire, demonstrators demanded a two-state solution, and immediate Canadian and US action. All Canadians were encouraged to learn more about the situation and to get involved, reminded by a banner that 'Our Silence - License to Kill.'

» view more photos in"Tamil Protest Shuts Down Major Toronto Ave"

April 23, 2009 Weblog:

Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada

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{{reposting of Ecosociete bulletin}}

INFORMATION BULLETIN

First anniversary of Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique

Montreal, April 23rd 2009

It was just over a year ago, on April 15th 2008, that Alain Deneault, Deplhine Abadie and William Sacher officially launched Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, published by Les Éditions Écosociété, despite legal threats of lawsuits by Canadian multinational Barrick Gold (see demand letter sent by Barrick Gold).

Two defamation lawsuits followed, with Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro claiming damages amounting to $11 million dollars. The authors and publisher of Noir Canada have since had to deal with amendments to these claims, multiple and cumbersome judicial proceedings (requests for documents, endless interviews conducted by opposing counsel, etc.), the preparation of voluminous defence records for two different jurisdictions, numerous commutes to Toronto, the rejection of a request to transfer Banro’s Ontario lawsuit to Quebec, the appeal of that decision, along with the considerable costs that such proceedings require and the psychological and moral strain that comes with being put under such pressure.

In the meantime, the authors of Noir Canada remind us that “the Canadian pillage of Africa continues”, while “the Canadian government has just consecrated Canada as being a judicial haven for extraction corporations worldwide” (see the communiqué by the Collectif Ressources d’Afrique below).

» continue reading "Canada in Africa: an anniversary news bulletin about Noir Canada"

April 16, 2009 Weblog:

Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry

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WHAT: 1 day conference about mining issues within Canada and abroad

WHEN: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 10:00am - 7:30pm

WHERE: Earth Sciences, Room 1050 (ES 1050), University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Avenue

Moderated by Judy Rebick

$10 (sliding scale) to cover cost of meals; free for students. No registration required. Donations gladly accepted (available seating for 400 in auditorium).

Hosts: UTERN, Science for Peace, Students Against Climate Change / Toronto Mining Support Group, Aboriginal Students Association of York University

With the intention of building a movement for change within Canada we are hosting a conference on mining issues at the University of Toronto. This conference will provide the space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, and the conference format prioritizes facilitating conversations focused on solutions to ending corporate impunity.

“The Question of Sustainability” is a conference dedicated to examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability within ecosystems, human rights, culture, and economics.

Featuring speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. This conference brings together indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and serves to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.

Major issues include water use and contamination, human rights violations by Canadian companies operating abroad, the question of corporate social responsibility, and the autonomy and preservation of traditional cultures.

» continue reading "Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry"

April 12, 2009 Weblog:

April 7 - May 7: Cross-Canada Campaign to Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home

[[Reposting of Project Fly Home update & call for action]]

Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home!
Cross-Canada Campaign 7 April to 7 May
Update and Call for Action

On Friday, 3 April, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon refused to give a passport to Abousfian Abdelrazik. The flight Abousfian was due to board left without him, and he remains in the same situation of forced exile that he has been in for six years - living for almost a year in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum.

On Tuesday, 7 May, his lawyers will go to the courts to ask for a mandatory order to compel the government to bring Abousfian back by "any safe means at its disposal". This is being argued on the basis of section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states, "Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada."

If they wanted to, government officials could, literally, send a plane today to bring him home tomorrow. But the government's actions have flown in the face of the law and public opinion, and officials have refused to do what is both within their means and within their legal obligation - to bring Abousfian home. Without public pressure, there is no guarantee that they
will even respect a court order.

Project Fly Home is thus calling for a public campaign leading up to 7 May to push the government to act NOW to bring Abousfian home.

It is imperative that the level of pressure and public scrutiny remain very high. The government has clearly proven its capacity for duplicity and its strong resistance to upholding Abousfian's rights. This is a case which is important not only for Abousfian but for all of us who are concerned about preserving the rights and freedoms - and most importantly, the dignity and equality - of all.

» continue reading "April 7 - May 7: Cross-Canada Campaign to Bring Abousfian Abdelrazik Home"

August 23, 2008 Weblog:

Peru: Indigenous occupations end with victory in Congress

On August 22nd, the Peruvian Congress repealed two legislative decrees at the root of the indigenous demonstrations that paralyzed various roads and energy installations from August 9th through 20th. The indigenous movement of the Amazon, home to 65 different indigenous nations, declared victory.

[note: several of the hyperlinks are to articles and websites in Spanish.]

Background

Peruvian President Alan Garcia approved more than 100 legislative decrees in the first half of 2008, making use of special powers bestowed upon the Executive branch by the Congress in order to bring the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the US and Peru into effect. The FTA was signed in 2006 and passed - despite opposition - by the US House and Senate in late 2007.

» continue reading "Peru: Indigenous occupations end with victory in Congress"

July 18, 2008 Weblog:

listen online: Indigenous Environmental Network conference in Newe Segobia

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Greetings from the 15th Indigenous Environmental Network gathering to Protect Mother Earth in Newe Segobia (Western Shoshone territory)!

LISTEN ONLINE LIVE HERE: http://www.earthcycles.net/
Info & program here: http://www.ienearth.org/

The first panel of the day - about mining & the extractive industries - is about to get started, with amazing speakers from all over, INCLUDING KI!!! There are 2 smaller workshops on mining today & a field trip tomorrow to Barrick Gold's Cortez gold mine, which is threatening to expand into Horse Canyon, one of the most important Western Shoshone sacred sited.

On that note, the photo is of the Havasupai (Grand Canyon area) delegation at the Longest Walk 2's arrival in DC, The Manifesto for Change, the Resolutions, and the 1978 Longest Walk Manifesto are all now posted as PDF files on the main Longest Walk site: www.longestwalk.org

I'll get more writing up on all these events & issues at some later date...

saludos,
Sandra

July 8, 2008 Weblog:

The Longest Walk 2 in Baltimore, Quechan Sacred Sites, and Other Wanderings

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Greetings from a teepee in Delaplane, Virginia...

The Longest Walk 2 (www.longestwalk.org) for Mother Earth, health, sacred sites & indigenous rights is rapidly approaching Washington, DC, after thousands of miles of walking and running from Alcatraz on the west coast. Thirty years ago, in 1978, the American Indian Movement's original Longest Walk walked into DC to present their manifesto: Affirmation of Sovereignty of the Indigenous People of the Western Hemisphere.

Four days from now, the 2008 Longest Walk 2's Manifesto for Change "All Life is Sacred" will be presented to the United States government when both the southern and northern routes of the Walk converge in DC, after the July 8-10 Cultural Survival Summit in Greenbelt, MD.

The day before yesterday, a small group of us from the southern route traveled to Baltimore to meet up with the northern route for a press conference in the middle of a plaza in the city's Inner Harbour district. A photo-essay about the event will be online on my other blog - thistidehasnoheartbeat.wordpress.com - very soon, likely before you read this one. The photograph above was taken at the press conference of the young girl who carries the lead staff of the northern route: the children's staff, for the future generations.

I was invited to go along to Baltimore to take a break from the 18-hour workdays. I haven't been able to walk for over a week now because of a foot injury (the doc says achilles tendonitis, but then again he also tried to inject me with something I had just told him I was allergic to), so I've been working with the Manifesto writing & editing team. Luckily there's usually a steady stream of coffee.

» continue reading "The Longest Walk 2 in Baltimore, Quechan Sacred Sites, and Other Wanderings"

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