Public meeting in London – Latin American women to speak about mining issues

LAMMP (Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme), a member group of London Mining Network, is hosting a public meeting on Tuesday 13th
October
with rural and indigenous women activists from Latin America.

The meeting will be at Amnesty International UK’s Human Rights Action
Centre,17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA, between 2.30 and 5 pm.

Women from Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala will be speaking at the meeting, which is part of a EUROPEAN SPEAKERS’ TOUR for rural and indigenous women affected by mining projects.

A common thread among women participating in the tour is that as a
result of their peaceful work in defence of the environment and human
rights they face multiple and complex criminal investigations which
their governments are using to set examples. As a result of their
environmental work they fear imprisonment for themselves, and the
intimidation of their families.

At this critical moment when – for the first time – the women’s
newly-formed groups are able to voice their concerns about the vision of sustainable development put forward by mining corporations, their
governments’ response is to single them out for “crimes against the
state”. Anti-mining activism is an emerging area for rural and
indigenous women, and little is known about  the multiple levels of
discrimination they experience. Their newly formed groups (with LAMMP
support) have little political weight. They need the support of the
international community.

Organised by LAMMP, the tour is the first international opportunity for
these rural and indigenous women defenders living in communities
affected by mining developments to raise awareness of gender issues such as the severe impact of mining on the social structure of the community which – among others – manifests itself through an increase in violence against women who speak against mining. Women often feel that life in the community is so transformed by the mining conflict that  "peace is gone, there is no more happiness".  Another worrying development for women is that abuses against them become "normal" and unworthy of police attention.

Finally, their stories illustrate the (undocumented) rise of poverty
among rural and indigenous women who find themselves in a dire
situation: unable to carry on with traditional income-generating work
due to loss of land to mining and access to natural resources , and
simultaneously unable to find work in the mine.

The objectives of the tour are:

(1) To help reduce women defenders’ vulnerability and fear of
imprisonment through greater mobilisation of international support and
encouragement of political support

(2) To lobby European governments and civil society to ensure a deeper, shared understanding into the extent and impact of persecution on women activists, as well as the specific safety issues which the women in the tour face.

(3) To raise the profile and legitimacy of the work women activists do,
and facilitate effective alliances and links between them and European
organisations.

(4) To expose a range of corporate and state practices that are gaining
ground across Latin America, and their impact on women activists and
their families.

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Categories: Gender, Human Rights

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