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Nov 16, 2012

Solidarity for missing environmental activist Miguel Ángel

by Joukje Kolff — last modified Nov 16, 2012 10:55 AM

Friends of the Earth International expresses its alarm and distress at the disappearance of Miguel Ángel Pabón Pabón, leader of the social movement for the defense of the Sogamoso River in Colombia.

Miguel Ángel Pabón PabónMiguel Ángel was last seen on October 31 2012. The environmental federation Friends of the Earth International, composed of environmental groups from 76 countries, learned of his disappearance during their Biennial General Assembly in El Salvador.

 

Please take part in our action in solidarity with Friends of the Earth Colombia and Miguel Ángel Pabón Pabón!

Miguel Ángel, a 36 years old father of two girls, is a dedicated and notable environmentalist, defender of the River Sogamoso and of the fisherfolk and peasant communities in the area. He created the Social Movement for the Defense of the Sogamoso River, together with other leaders of the region in 2008, which has contributed to building awareness among the communities about the terrible consequences of local hydro-electrical projects. He has also participated in demonstrations against the company ISAGEN, denouncing the negative social and environmental consequences that have hurt fisherfolk and peasant communities, and the terrible labour conditions of the workers that are building the hydro project.

In 2011, he was instrumental in the creation of the Columbian Movement in Defense of the Territory and Affected People by Dams “Ríos Vivos”.

Since his disappearance, members of the settlements, peasants and fisherfolk of the region who closely know Miguel, have organized groups (brigades) to search for him in the surrounding areas, including Municipalities of Sabana de Torres, San Vicente, Betulia and Barrancabermeja.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that such a tragedy has happened to the members and leaders who defend the rights of communities in the region. The Observatorio de Paz Integral reported that 11 people have already disappeared in 2012, 6 of whom were subsequently found dead. Several social leaders have been assassinated in the region of the Sogamoso River since 2009. These crimes have been committed with total impunity, with no consequences for the perpetrators.

Friends of the Earth International requests that the Colombian authorities - particularly the Magdalena Medio Police, the National Attorney General, the Ombudspeople, the Municipality of San Vicente, the Regional Attorney, and other entities of Public control - to do everything in their extensive powers to prevent a major tragedy, and to make sure that Miguel Ángel Pabón Pabón is found and returned to his home in good health.


San Salvador, November 9 2012.


Please take part in our action in solidarity with Friends of the Earth Colombia and Miguel Ángel Pabón Pabón!

Nov 06, 2012

November 10: A significant day for activists working against mining, oil and gas

by Denis Burke — last modified Nov 06, 2012 06:45 PM

Friends of the Earth International commemorates Ken Saro-Wiwa's death on November 10 as a day of solidarity with victims of mining, oil and gas activities around the world and a celebration of all the activists who continue to resist.

Ken Saro-WiwaSeventeen years ago,  environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were executed under the Abacha dictatorship in Nigeria.

It was widely alleged that oil giant Shell interfered in the trial that led to his death sentence. Shell has been drilling in Nigeria for 50 years and its operations in the Niger Delta continue to have massively negative impacts on the population there.

Friends of the Earth International commemorates Ken Saro-Wiwa's death on November 10 as a day of solidarity with victims of mining, oil and gas activities and a celebration of the activists who continue to resist. 

Since the release of the 2011 report 'Memory, truth and justice for heroes' (1) the death toll and level of persecution of community leaders defending their territories against abuses by the extractive industries has continued unabated. (2)

The destruction of communities and ecosystems caused by extractive industries has generated a global resistance movement struggling for justice and the defense of life, land, resources, biodiversity, livelihoods and cultures.

Extractive industries have caused some of the world's worst environmental disasters and displaced tens of thousands of local people from their traditional homelands. Abuses perpetrated by the extractive industries have cost the lives of many environmental advocates and communities.

This year Friends of the Earth International  marks this anniversary during its biennial general assembly in El Salvador in November by reflecting on its work with environmental defenders across the globe.

Fifteen international delegates will visit communities negatively affected by mining in Guatemala and El Salvador as part of a solidarity tour following the general assembly, from 13-20 November. (3)

Friends of the Earth International reiterates its support for communities resisting destructive extractive projects, in their struggles against social injustices, and in bringing about environmental and economic justice.

On 11 October 2012, Friends of the Earth and four Nigerians brought Dutch oil giant Shell to court in The Hague for damage caused in Nigeria; a milestone in the decades of struggle of the people of the Niger Delta and a fitting testament to the struggle of Ken Saro-Wiwa. (4)


Notes:

(1) For more information see the report  published on November 2011: http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2011/memory-truth-and-justice-for-heroes/view

(2) For more information on activists at risk see http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/Luchadores-sociales-en-riesgo

(3) Full coverage of the tour can be followed at http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/?lang=en

(4) For more information see http://www.foei.org/en/media/archive/2012/30-january-verdict-expected-in-court-case-on-oil-giant-shells-nigerian-oil-pollution

 

Nov 02, 2012

Friends of the Earth International is proud to announce Jagoda Munić as our new chairperson

by Denis Burke — last modified Nov 02, 2012 02:40 PM

Friends of the Earth International is proud to announce that Jagoda Munić from Croatia has been elected as our new chairperson, effective November 15, 2012.

Jagoda november 2012Jagoda has extensive experience in environmental research, activism and conservation. She joined Friends of the Earth Croatia as a volunteer in 1997 and was president of the group from 2001 to 2007. She has degrees in biology; library and information sciences; and pollution and environmental control. She has led successful biodiversity research projects and public advocacy campaigns, including a campaign on Genetically Modified (GM) crops, which resulted in Croatia adopting one of the strictest GM laws in the world. Jagoda has served as FoEI's Treasurer on the executive committee since 2004.

 

Outgoing chairperson Nnimmo Bassey said, “Jagoda's commitment and experience will inspire the wider Friends of the Earth federation. Her appointment gives Friends of the Earth International a charismatic and talented new chair.”

 

Friends of the Earth International is deeply grateful to Nnimmo Bassey for his visionary and invaluable leadership. Nnimmo has demonstrated incredible dedication and passion for his work and the work of Friends of the Earth International.

 

Every two years, Friends of the Earth International's Biennial General Meeting elects FoEI's Executive Committee. 

 

Read the interview with Jagoda at Radio Mundo Real

 

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