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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

 

Oct 30, 2012

Voting now open for the 2012 Prix Pinocchio

by Denis Burke — last modified Oct 30, 2012 04:37 PM

The Pinocchio Sustainable Development Awards (PSDA), organised by Friends of the Earth (Les Amis de la Terre) - France, are intended to illustrate and denounce the negative impacts of some French companies that behave in total contradiction with the concepts of sustainable development that they boast of extensively.

PinnochioAll these commitments are legally non-binding and they are hence inefficient: while companies enjoy benefits in terms of the image they project to their shareholders, customers and citizens, they only engage in some general overall principles which are not very operational, and they are not accountable for their actions in case of non-compliance to this voluntary adherence. Although supported at the highest level by public governments that often favour the competitiveness of multinational corporations to Human Rights and environmental protection, these types of voluntary adherence have now largely proven ineffective.

 

Multinationals companies are taking advantage of legislative loopholes to conduct their activities to the detriment of respect of social, societal and environmental rights in the countries of the South.

 

Read more >

Oct 16, 2012

World Food Day

by Denis Burke — last modified Oct 16, 2012 11:55 AM

World Food Day -- a day to remember that nearly a billion people in the world are hungry despite the fact that there is enough food to go around. Food has been turned into a mere commodity to be exported, traded and speculated upon, rather than a basic human right.

The Traders

At this very moment we are supporting communities in Uganda and Argentina who are struggling to stop companies from taking their lands in order to reap heavy profits instead of healthy harvests. Fertile farmland and lush forests are being converted into soy and palm oil monoculture plantations. Crops are being grown and flown across the globe to feed cars and animals, rather than to feed local communities.

Make a gift to Friends of the Earth International today and help support our campaign to help communities in Uganda, Argentina and around the world keep control of their land.

Also on World Food Day, Friends of the Earth International released our latest Food Sovereignty Report. This year we take aim at the industry-supported myth of “sustainable intensification,” another name for the environmentally destructive corporate concentration of food production.
More >


Read the Report >

Learn more about our food sovereignty work >

 

Oct 11, 2012

Four Nigerian Plaintiffs take Shell to Court in The Netherlands

by Denis Burke — last modified Oct 11, 2012 05:50 PM

Plaintiffs from devastated communities in Nigeria tell their stories in their own words.

For the first time in history, a European company, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shall, has been brought to court in The Netherlands for damages it caused abroad. The plaintiffs are four Nigerians whose livelihoods and communities have been massively impacted by Shell's operations.

 

 

Plaintiff Alali Efanga takes Shell to court for pollution in Nigeria

 

The court case against Shell's oil spills in the Niger delta has been filed by the four Nigerian plaintiffs in conjunction with Friends of the Earth Netherlands and supported by Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

 


Plaintiff Chief Erich Dooh

 

The plaintiffs are demanding that Shell cleans up oil pollution in their villages and compensates them for damages they incurred. In this interview, Alali Efanga from the village of Oruma describes how he and his community have been affected by the oil spills.

 

Lawyers for both parties pleaded at a key hearing in The Hague on October 11, with a verdict expected on January 30, 2013.

 

Oct 09, 2012

Solidarity Statement concerning the masacre of the people of Totonicapán.

by Denis Burke — last modified Oct 09, 2012 06:07 PM

Friends of the Earth International, the world's largest environmental federation, firmly condemns the violent and repressive actions of the government of Guatemala against the Totonicapán Mayan K`iche people.

On 4 October 2012, these actions resulted in a massacare that caused the death of eigth indigenous people and dozens of injuries during a peaceful demonstration organised by 48 Cantones de Totonicapán, the ancient Maya people's organisation.

 

Guatemala

We are deeply concerned about Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina's repressive security policy. President Otto Perez Molina is a retired Army General and a graduate of Escuela de las Américas, who condones the militarization of indigenous territories and insists on constitutional reform to guarantee the involvement of the army in public safety.

 

Likewise, we condemn the strategy of repressing and criminalising social protests in Guatemala. The massacre in Totonicapán follows a crackdown in Santa Cruz Barillas' – where a community leader was killed and ten people were detained on political grounds – in early May this year and the subsequent state of emergency in the municipality.

This “security” policy goes hand-in-hand with unsustainable large scale development projects, involving indigenous territories without the consent of the people affected. This issue was
also one of the demands of the thousands of indigenous people who joined the demonstration on 4 October.


We sympathise with the families of the victims and join the call of our sister organisations to speak out against the violations of indigenous peoples' human rights in Guatemala. We call on the international community to stay vigilant and to express solidarity with the people of Guatemala.

We demand that the government of Guatemala will acknowledge its responsibility, and reconsider its policies to ensure respect to the freedom of expression, security, life, freedom of thought, and human rights of the Mayan communities.

In solidarity,

 

Nnimmo Bassey

President

Friends of the Earth International

 

For more information

.............................................................

Please use this declaration of solidarity as a model to express your concerns to the Guatemalan authorities:

 

Presidente de la República de Guatemala Sr. Otto Pérez Molina

Secretaria Privada de la Presidencia

6ta Avenida 4-46 de la Zona 1, Guatemala, Guatemala.

Teléfono: (502) 2230-1650.

Informacion@secretariaprivada.gob.gt

https://www.facebook.com/ottoperezmolina

 

Secretaria de Comunicación Social de la Presidencia

Palacio Nacional Guatemala, Guatemala 01001 Guatemala

Tel: (502) 2251-4016 / (502) 2339-2502.

http://www.guatemala.gob.gt

 

Ministerio Público

Fiscal General del Ministerio Publico Dra. Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey.

Dirección: 15 Av. 15-16 Zona 1, 2º. Nivel, Ciudad de Guatemala.

Teléfonos: (502) 2411-9262 / (502) 2411-9174

https://www.facebook.com/mpguatemala

 

Ministerio de Gobernación

Mauricio López Bonilla, ministro de Gobernación.

Dirección: 6ª. Av. 13-71 zona 1 Guatemala.

Teléfono: (502) 2413-8888.

https://www.facebook.com/mauriciolopezbonilla

 

Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos PDH

Jorge De León Duque, Procurador.

Dirección: 12 ave. 12-72 Zona 1, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala.

Teléfono: 24241717, Call Center: 1555

https://www.facebook.com/JorgeEduardoDeLeonDuque

 

Oficina del Alto Comisionado para los Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas para Guatemala

Alberto Brunori, representante de la OACNUDH

Dirección: 5a Av. 5-55 Zona 14 Edif Europlaza, Torre III, Nivel 14, Ciudad de Guatemala, 01014, PBX: (502)

2382-3400, Fax: (502) 2382-3410

informacion@ohchr.org.gt

https://www.facebook.com/OACNUDHGuatemala

 

Sep 27, 2012

RWR: Unsettling - Interview with Ayman Rabi about the Friends of the Earth International Mission to Palestine

by admin — last modified Sep 27, 2012 11:00 AM

For two days Bobby Peek of Friends of the Earth South Africa and Eurig Scandrett of Friends of the Earth Scotland, spoke with people from local communities of the West Bank and witnessed the environmental damage caused by Israeli industrial, commercial and settlement activity. Real World Radio interviewed Pengon campaigner Ayman Rabi about the FoEI mission in Palestine.

Pengon

Listen to the interview on Real World Radio

 

Two representatives of Friends of the Earth International, an environmental federation with groups in almost 80 countries, traveled to Palestine on the invitation of PENGON-Friends of the Earth Palestine to see the environmental consequences of the Israeli occupation.

 

PENGON is a member group of Friends of the Earth International that campaigns mainly on access to land and water, as well as climate change and some issues related with community empowerment through fostering the existing of the local communities.

 

Ayman explained that the FoEI mission aimed to “eye witness on the current environmental violations caused mainly by the Israeli occupation to Palestinian territory”. It was also aimed to “show them the current discriminatory practices against Palestinian farmers”.

 

The mission visited different communities in the West Bank that suffer from water scarcity and from settler violations. Ayman said those communities suffer “pollution problems created by the waste water disposal of (Israeli) settlements existing in that area (...) and also restrictions imposed on Palestinian farmers from using the land caused by the separation wall created” by the Israeli government.

 

The construction of the wall began in 2002 under the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in order to “avoid the infiltration of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel”. The International Court of Justice of The Hague (The Netherlands) declared the wall illegal in 2004, since it cuts across Palestinian lands in the West Bank. The United Nations also condemned its construction. As a result of the building of the wall, nearly 500,000 Palestinians are separared from their lands and work places.

After the mission, PENGON aims to disseminate the conclusions as wide as possible in order to do advocacy work and to have an impartial view of the situation in Palestine.

 

Listen to the interview on Real World Radio

 

Photo: PENGON – Friends of the Earth Palestine.

Sep 20, 2012

Friends of the Earth Europe: Shale gas: unconventional and unwanted

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 20, 2012 11:52 AM

New report highlights dangers of unconventional fuel to environment and health

Brussels, September 20 – Europe risks side-lining its vision for a more sustainable, low-carbon energy future, according to a new report from Friends of the Earth Europe [1], unless it permanently closes its doors to unconventional and unwanted fossil fuels like shale gas [2].

In the week of two European parliamentary votes on shale gas [3], the report, ‘Unconventional and unwanted’ says that shale gas could lock Europe into continued dependency on fossil fuels, at the expense of renewable energy, energy savings and significant reductions in climate-changing emissions.

Increasing evidence shows ‘fracking’, the process used to extract shale gas, is an unambiguously high-risk activity that threatens human health and the wider environment. The high risk of water contamination, and air pollution with hazardous chemicals, are both recognised in a recent European Commission study [4].

Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Fossil fuels like shale gas are unconventional and unwanted – they threaten the health of local communities, and the environment. They also threaten to lock Europe into fossil fuel dependency, side-lining renewable energy developments, energy savings and Europe’s commitment to a low-carbon future."

The environmental impacts of shale gas and other unconventional fuels (such as coal bed methane) are being underplayed in the debate on Europe’s energy future [5], and rely upon unproven technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and gaps in current European legislation to make them attractive to investors and decision makers, the report finds.

Local opposition to the threat of shale gas continues across Europe, with a global day of action against fracking this Saturday (September 22) [6]. Bans on fracking are already in place in France and Bulgaria, and there are moratoria in regions of Germany and Czech Republic, and in the Netherlands.

Antoine Simon continued: “Concerned communities and organisations across Europe are taking action against shale gas development. People see what’s happening in the US and don’t want to see the same dangerous experiment on health and the environment conducted in Europe.”

Friends of the Earth Europe is campaigning for European member states to suspend on-going activities, retract permits, and place bans on any new projects, whether exploration or exploitation. Europe must embrace a low-carbon energy model, based on renewable energy and improved energy savings – the only genuine path towards an environmentally sustainable and healthy future.

‘Unconventional and unwanted: the case against shale gas’ is available to download here:
http://www.foeeurope.org/foee-unconventional-and-unwanted-the-case-against-shale-gas-sept2012

***

For more information please contact:

Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe,
Tel: +32 (0) 2 893 10 18, Mob: +32 (0) 486 685 664, email: antoine.simon@foeeurope.org

Sam Fleet, communications officer, Friends of the Earth Europe, (EN)
Tel: +32 (0) 2893 1012, Mob: +32 (0) 470 072 049, samuel.fleet@foeeurope.org

***

NOTES:


[1] http://www.foeeurope.org/foee-unconventional-and-unwanted-the-case-against-shale-gas-sept2012

[2] Shale gas is a form of unconventional gas found in shale reservoirs. To extract the gas a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking', is required. Fracking involves the injection of millions of litres of water, sand and chemicals – known as 'fracking fluid' – into the shale reservoir, at high pressure, to fracture the rock and release the gas.

[3] Two European Parliament committees – working on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Environment (ENVI) – voted this week on their respective reports on the impacts of shale gas development in Europe. The outcomes of the votes are ambiguous: on the one hand recognising the serious risks shale gas poses to health and the environment while still promoting it as “necessary fuel for our energy security”.

Friends of the Earth Europe’s reaction to the vote on the ITRE Report, September 18th:
http://www.foeeurope.org/shale-gas-risks-side-lined-by-industry-interests-180912

[4] The DG Environment risk assessment of shale gas operations can be found here:http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/pdf/fracking%20study.pdf

[5] A short video from the European Greens, in collaboration with Fiends of the Earth Europe, explaining the environmental and health impacts of shale gas: http://bit.ly/ban_fracking

[6] Friends of the Earth groups in France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will organise events this Saturday, September 22nd, as part of Global Frackdown day. For more information: http://www.globalfrackdown.org/

Sep 19, 2012

Defend life (Jmaktik buch’utik sk’anik spojik jkuxlejaltik) - a poem about Plantations

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 19, 2012 10:21 AM

Jmaktik buch’utik sk’anik spojik jkuxlejaltik (Defend life)

by Jose Manuel Martín Pérez (translated from Tzotzil - original below)

 

What does the forest mean for a local community?
Food
water
building materials
safe space for animals
medicine
pollinators
firewood
honey
respite
the forest means life
And what happens with a plantation?
The water runs out
there is no food
nor safe spaces
nor medicine
nor pollinators
nor firewood
nor honey
nor respite
there is no life
What is there to do?
Stop the plantations!

 

Jmaktik buch’utik sk’anik spojik jkuxlejaltik


¿K’uyun lek k’alal oy a’mal te ta jlumatik?
Mi oy a’mal, oy ve’lil
Oy o’
Xu’ jva’antik jnatik xchi’uk k’usi oy ku’untik te ta a’mal
Oy svayeb chon-bolometik
Oy vomol-poxil
Oy epal mutetik
Oy si’
Oy pom
Oy bu’ lek nichim ko’ontontik jkotoltik
Me oy a’mal oy jkuxlekatik
¿Mi ech xa na’ k’alal sts’unik yansba ko’ol te’tik?
Mo’o, mauk ech sjam. Chlaj o’
Chlaj te ve’lile
Ch’ay batel svayeb chon-bolometik
Chlaj vomol-poxil
Chlaj ch’ul-balamil
Chlaj si’
Chlaj snichimal ko’ontontik
Solel chlaj jkuxlejaltik
¿K’usi xu’ chapas o’ote yu’un mu chlaj skotol?
MAKO BUCH’U SK’AN STS’UN YANSBA KO’OL TE’TIK.

What some Friends of the Earth Groups are planning for The International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations on September 21

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 19, 2012 10:10 AM

Friends of the Earth groups around the world will commemorate the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations in a variety of creative ways. We are working to get the word out across the world. We hope you will join us and get some inspiration from these examples of Friends of the Earth actions below.

In the Czech Republic an information campaign will buzz around Middle Europe through facebook and email campaigns. Want to help out? Find Friends of the Earth Czech Republic on Facebook


In Mexico, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Governors Climate and Forest Task Force (REDD - GCF) will meet in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas between 25 – 27 September. Amigos de la Tierra Mexico is conducting parallel activites, including a press conference, daily forums for public debate, guests from FoE USA (Jeff Conant) and AdT Brasil (Lucia Ortiz), and representatives of the Lacandon jungle who are fighting REDD and oil palm plantations. The period around September 21 will be covered in a blog


Amigos de Terra Brasil  will be at the University de Espirito Santo for a book launch (La Ambientalizacion de los Bancos y La Finacerizacion de la Natureleza) with Red Alerta Contra el Desierto Verde and the Brasilian Network of IFIs. They also plan community visits.

 

Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica plans an action in front of the Constitutional Court, protesting the advance of monoculture pineapple plantations and their impacts on forests.

 

In Mozambique a workshop about the community forest project underway there will be taking place on the 20 and 21 of September. On the 21 they will release a short documentary about one of these projects and the invasion of plantations in the area. A petition to the national government to halt their plans to turn Mozambique into a mega plantation is also planned.

 

Argentina will conduct outreach activities and workshops.

 

Uganda will also mark the day with workshops and press releases.

 

Read a poem about Monoculture Tree Plantations by Jose Manuel Martín Pérez


Sep 18, 2012

Join the Global Frackdown for a Ban on Fracking!

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 18, 2012 10:20 AM

Friends of the Earth International is supporting Global Frackdown, a mass global day of action on Saturday, September 22 demanding a ban on fracking around the world.

Frack Down

Fracking is a relatively new and highly destructive way of extracting oil or gas from the ground. It involves injecting millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals into hard shale rocks at high pressure to release the gas or oil that is trapped inside.

 

Gas from fracking (known as ‘shale gas’) is being promoted as ‘clean energy’, but the reality is very different. Fracking threatens our air, water, communities and climate. Fracking:

 

  • taps into a new and vast source of high carbon fossil fuels - one of the main causes of climate change and irreversible and catastrophic climate impacts
  • uses enormous quantities of water, an already scarce resource
  • involves highly toxic chemicals which can escape and pollute local drinking water supplies
  • will very likely lead to the forced displacement of communities and small farmers like other forms of fossil fuel extraction
  • releases dangerous levels of methane, another potent greenhouse gas that can also leak into nearby water supplies and cause explosions
  • can cause earth tremors

 

Fracking is just one aspect of the corporate-controlled global dirty energy system which we need to transform if we are to avert catastrophic climate change and improve the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of communities around the world. Dirty fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, and other dirty energies like agrofuels and energy from destructive mega-dams and waste incineration harm communities and the environment whilst mostly serving the energy needs of corporations, not ordinary people.

 

We need to replace this unsustainable and exploitative energy model with energy systems based on appropriate, clean, renewable energy under real democratic and community control.

 

This transformation is already under way, and Friends of the Earth International is campaigning to help make it a reality. One of the first steps is stopping dirty energy, and that is why we are supporting Global Frackdown, an initiative of Food & Water Watch.

 

Around the world hundreds of communities are organising to protect their land and water and resist fracking. Communities and campaigners have managed to stop fracking in Bulgaria and France. Campaigners in South Africa won a temporary moratorium, but saw this lifted last week showing that more pressure and global solidarity is needed.

 

Global Frackdown will unite concerned citizens everywhere for a day of action on September 22, 2012.

 

Over 125 actions are being planned all over the world to demand that decision makers oppose fracking and send a message to governments that we want a future fueled by clean, renewable energy, not dirty, polluting fossil fuels. For more information www.globalfrackdown.org

 

 

Some more information from Friends of the Earth Groups on Fracking

FoE England, Wales and Northern Ireland background information
FoE Ireland
recent community panel discussion
FoE Scotland

background information

FoE Europe

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 13, 2012

International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations: September 21

by Denis Burke — last modified Sep 13, 2012 10:20 AM

Branding a plantation a 'forest' is like calling a big swimming pool a 'lake'

Edge of PlantationOn September 21 every year, environmental and social groups from all over the world mark the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations. While multilateral organisations persist in telling the world that plantations help the environment and the economy, the reality is that timber plantations almost always have a negative impact on communities, local economies and biodiversity. These plantations are not a solution to climate change nor to biodiversity loss.

 

Monoculture tree plantations have a serious impact on the communities and eco-systems around them. Many people who depend on forests for their livelihoods have been evicted or relocated to make way for plantations. The impact on biodiversity can be severe as plantations are not similar to forests in the diversity of life that they can host. Hydrological cycles are disrupted and ecosystems hurt by the widened use of pesticides.

 

That's why on September 21st -- the International Day Against Monoculture Tree Plantations-- Friends of the Earth groups plan various activities around the world, including calling attention to and challenging the expansion of palm oil tree plantations destined for agrofuel production, challenging eucalyptus and other monoculture tree plantations grown for export, and exposing over-consumption and consumerism.

 

 

Image: Edge of Plantation by Hanna Nikkanen. Used under CC License

Jul 25, 2012

Join the call for the immediate release of anti-nuclear campaigner detained in Minsk

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 25, 2012 11:05 AM

Demand the immediate release of anti-nuclear activist Andrey Ozharkovskiy, detained in Belarus

 

Nuclear plant


GLOBAL 2000/ Friends of the Earth Austria - Three activists were arrested in Minsk when they left their home/office on the day that Russian prime minister Medvedev arrived in Minsk to sign a contract for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Belarus. 

Four activists were sentenced, three of whom were detained. Russian nuclear physicist and journalist Andrey Ozharkovskiy, Belarusian journalist Tatyana Novikova, manager of the environmental organization EcoDom Irina Sukhy and human rights observer Michael Matskevich are openly against the plans to build a nuclear power plant near Astravetz close to the Lithuanian border.

Although Novikova and Matskevich have since been released, Ozharkovskiy remains in custody.

GLOBAL 2000 have cooperated with the aforementioned activists for years and know them as dedicated, non-violent people. Their activities are consistent with the right to free expression as outlined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. GLOBAL 2000 call on the Belarusian government:


  • to immediately free Andrey Ozharkovskiy,
  • to drop all charges against all four campaigners,
  • to explain its position on the arrests,
  • to respect freedom of speech now and in the future.


Sign the letter to the Belarusian embassy in Vienna on the GLOBAL 2000 website (External Link: Information in German, scroll down for letter in English)

 

More information

Anti-nuclear activists detained under suspicious circumstances in Belarus

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 25, 2012 11:06 AM

GLOBAL 2000 (Friends of the Earth Austria) protests at the Belarusian embassy and called on Austrian Foreign Minister Spindelegger to support their calls for the right to freedom of expression.

Vienna (July 24, 2012) - The Austrian environmental organization GLOBAL 2000 calls on the authoritarian Belarussian regime to immediately release unjustly detained nuclear physicist and journalist Andrey Ozharkovskiy.  Ozharkovskiy was arrested with three other activists last Wednesday while peacefully protesting the signing of a loan agreement between Russia and Belarus for a new nuclear plant in Belarus. His three colleagues have now been released, but Ozharkovskiy remains in custody. The reasons for his ongoing detention remain unclear. GLOBAL 2000 has already protested and demanded that the Belarusian Embassy in Vienna immediately provide clarification of the circumstances of their detained fellow nuclear activists.

Klaus Kastenhofer, CEO of GLOBAL 2000 says that the Belarusian Embassy have not felt the need to explain the undemocratic actions of their government. He requested more information on the arrests directly from the Belarussian authorities but his request was denied. GLOBAL 2000 suspects that the arrest of Andrey Ozharkovskiy and the others (Irina Sukhy, Tatiana Novikova and Michael Matskevich) is a further attempt to intimidate the wider anti-nuclear movement in Belarus.

The first nuclear power plant to be built with Russian funding is planned for an area close to Astravets Belarus (Grodno region), near the Lithuanian border within the next eight years. There are huge concerns within the EU about the construction of new nuclear power plants in an area where Chernobyl's catastrophic effects still have significant repurcussions. “Proactive protests concerning the threat of nuclear disaster have to be taken extremely seriously after the huge meltdowns at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Fukushima has demonstrated very clearly what happens if doubts about this high-risk technology are suppressed.” Kastenhofer concluded.

Further information:
GLOBAL 2000 / Friends of the Earth Austria
Press Officer: Mag. Lydia Matzka-Saboi  00 43 699/14 2000 26
CEO: Dr. Klaus Kastenhofer          00 43 69914 2000 32

Jul 12, 2012

Grave situation of community leaders and academics in Colombia

by Denis Burke — last modified Jul 12, 2012 02:55 PM

Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean is concerned about the serious situation facing Colombian community leaders and academics committed to the struggle for social and environmental justice. In recent weeks, they have learned of the increasing criminalization and prosecution of some of these social activists .

On Saturday June 8 this year, FELIX MANUEL BANGUERO was arrested. Banguero,member of the Regional Coordination Team for Black Communities development (PCN), the Pilamo Community Council, was indicted on charges of rebellion and conspiracy. 


Banguero is ​​a leader of the PCN, which has stood for organizational commitment to the work of black communities and has served as secretary of culture for Guachené Township. Felix is currently serving as civic culture adviser for Guachené Township.

Last week, the Regional Office of Huila opened a criminal investigation into the distinguished professor MILLER DUSSAN based on a communication from Colonel Juan Francisco Pelaez Ramirez of March 7, 2012, consisting of annexed audiovisual material with which it aims to evaluate “the irregular nature of the behaviour of professor Dussan Miller”, in the demonstrations that have been held against the Quimbo hydroelectric project. Miller is a renowned faculty professor at the Surcolombiana University and does research on social issues. His work is widely known nationally and internationally. His studies and positions on the impacts and conflicts of hydropower, particularly on the Quimbo project, have been published in books, magazines and websites and disseminated in academic and social forums all over the world.

On Saturday, July 7 between 5 and 8 pm, the home and workplace of HILDEBRANDO VÉLEZ GALEANO was raided. Vélez Galeano, renowned environmentalist, professor, member of PCN Palenke Alto Cauca, was director of our partner organization in Colombia and International Coordinator Campaign of Energy and Climate Change in our federation during the years 2009 and 2010.

Since February 17, 2011 when Sandra Viviana Cuellar went missing, his house as well as his daughter's house were simultaneously attacked on two occasions.  Computers with information, primarily concerning the search for Sandra Viviana were stolen, as were papers concerning their academic research and documents related to their social struggles.

Such incidents occur despite these leaders having taken protective measures as stipulated by the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) and programs to protect human rights by the Colombian government. However, according to information received from Colombia, rather than protecting the rights of members of social organizations, they are neither respected nor guaranteed.

 Referring to the instances above, Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • Request the Colombian government to respect and ensure fundamental rights to life, association, freedom of thought and expression – including academic expression – for community leaders, activists and intellectuals and their families;
  • Call on the international community to take note of these violations of human rights and support measures for protection of lives and integral rights of our communities and activists; 
  • Expresses its support and solidarity with the Colombian people and the people involved in the defense of their territories and cultures.

What can you do?

Show your solidarity by writing a letter to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest the treatment of community leaders and academics:

 

MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES

Calle 10 No. 5-51

Palacio de San Carlos

Bogotá

Colombia

Jul 08, 2012

Violent action in Peru against activists demonstrating against a Newmont mining project

by Joukje Kolff — last modified Jul 08, 2012 02:50 PM

The violence caused at least 4 deaths and the detention of Rev. Marco Arana. Friends of the Earth International supports the following statement to the Peruvian government and embassies around the world.

nullWe wish to express our contempt for the alarming increase of repression and violation of fundamental rights seen in Peru as the government´s response towards the environmental conflicts in recent months.

 

For weeks, this completely irresponsible and disproportionate response, with the indiscriminate use of firearms even from helicopters against demonstrators and pedestrians has killed four people and left tens of people wounded in the El Espinar conflict in the Cusco Department; one person has died and various left with gunshot injuries in Bambamarca; in the protests of the town of Celedín in Cajamarca against the Conga mining project which threaten the contamination and disappearance of water sources of the region, three have died and tens of people left with gunshot injuries.

 

In the same context, we denounce the violent and arbitrary detention of Father Marco Arana, a member of the environmentalist organization, Group for Training and Intervention for Sustainable Development (GRUFIDES), one of the community´s role models in the resistance against the mining industry and leader of the political party ¨Tierra y Dignidad¨ (¨Land and Dignity¨), as was recorded by the media. See video here of the detention.

 

All this has been accompanied by extraordinary measures and the deprivation of freedom through a declaration of a state of emergency in both conflicts. With the precedents in Honduras and Paraguay, we fear that we will find ourselves before a dynamic increase in the suspension of the rights and freedom of the population in various countries in Latin America, especially linked to the defense of the interests of different multinationals and their extractive businesses. For these reasons:

 

  • We express our deepest indignation to the government of Peru; we implore you to put an immediate end to the repressive increase and to assume your historical responsibility to be the guardian of the Human Rights of the Peruvian population.
  • We appeal to social organizations, NGOS for international cooperation, human rights entities, public institutions and others, to actively engage in defending the rights and freedom to impede an authoritarian change in Peru, and to defend a resolution of the conflicts in accordance with the right to have free access to all information about the affected communities and towns.
  • We request a clarification of all the facts which have led to these serious events and which have brought about the grief in these areas.
  • We demand the multinational company of Newmont, which leads the Conga project, to issue a statement on the violent and illegal actions of the Peruvian government.

 

As civil society organizations we will keep a watchful eye on the development of the happenings in Peru, with widespread dissemination of information related to it and alerting international entities on the repressive politics of the Peruvian government that violate and infringe the agreement signed by both parties regarding the rights of the towns.

 

We will continue to lend our support and solidarity in accompanying the affected areas, to the social and communal organizations, as well as their local authorities and especially to the families of the victims.

 

For more information

Jun 29, 2012

Denouncing the brutal murder of two fishermen from Rio de Janeiro

by Joukje Kolff — last modified Jun 29, 2012 10:20 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO (BRAZIL) – A Friends of the Earth International delegation joins today a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro to denounce the brutal murder of two fishermen leaders from the Guanabara Bay and to express our solidarity with the families of the victims and their community.

pescadores
Fishermen in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Lima Andruška

On June 14th 2012, one week prior to the Rio+20 UN Earth Summit, Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey took part in a 'toxic tour' of the Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro where the association AHOMAR has been denouncing since 2007 the crimes and rights violations which took place during the construction of the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex, one of the largest investments in the history of Brazilian energy giant Petrobras.

 

Friends of the Earth International signed on the statement below and will closely follow the investigation and measures to be taken by the State Government in the defense of all fisherfolks involved in this struggle.

 

Repudiation on the murder of AHOMAR fishermen

The undersigned social movements and civil society organizations express in this manifest their indignation for the brutal murder of Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra, artisanal fishermen and members of Homens e Mulheres do Mar Association (AHOMAR) in the Guanabara Bay. We demand that the State of Rio de Janeiro and the Brazilian State to take immediate mesures too investigate the facts and to protect the lives of threatened fisher folk.

 

Almir and Pituca were leaders of AHOMAR, a local fisherfolk organization, in struggle against the social and environmental impacts created by big economic investments that are making artisanal fishing impossible in the Guanabara Bay. Both went missing after going out to fish on friday, June 22nd 2012. Almir's body was found on sunday, June 24th, tied to their boat, submerged close to the São Lourenço beach in Magé, Rio de Janeiro. The body of João Luiz Telles, Pituca, was found on monday, June 25th, with hands and feet tied in fetal position, close to the São Gonçalo beach.

 

AHOMAR: a history of struggle

AHOMAR represents artisan fisherfolk from seven municipalities at the Guanabara Bay and has 1.870 associate members. Since 2007, they systematically denounce the crimes and rights violations occurred during the construction of the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (COMPERJ), one of the largest investments in the history of PetroBras (Brazilian semi-public multinational energy corporation) and part of the Brazilian government's Growth Acceleration Plan (PAC).

 

In 2009, the men and women of AHOMAR have occupied the construction sites of land and sub-sea gas pipelines for transport of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), built by a consortium between two contractors: GDK and Oceânica, hired by Petrobras. This construction is directly making artisanal fishing impossible in the Mauá-Magé beach, Guanabara Bay, where the AHOMAR headquarters is located. They anchored their boats close to the pipelines and stayed there for 38 days. Since then, the fishermen are suffering constant death threats. That same year, in may, Paulo Santos Souza, formerly  in charge of the association's accounting, was brutally beaten in front of his family and killed with five shots in the head. In 2010, another AHOMAR founder, Márcio Amaro, was also murdered at his home, in front of his mother and wife. Both crimes have never been cleared up.

 

Because of the violence and the constant threats, since 2009, Alexandre Anderson de Souza, president of AHOMAR, and his family are under protection of the Human Rights Defenders Program, living 24h under police escort. That couldn't prevent new attempted attacks on Alexandre's life.

 

Escalation of threats and more murders

By the end of 2011 and first months of 2012, the AHOMAR fisherfolk got mobilized once more against the impacts of the COMPERJ construction. Under the argument of accelerating the construction execution schedule, Petrobras and INEA (Environment State Institute of Rio de Janeiro) tried to bring back to the project a proposal that had been discarded before, during the environmental licensing process. The manoeuvre was about turning the Guaxindiba River, a Guanabara Bay afluent, into a waterway for the transportation of the COMPERJ construction equipment.

 

Aware of the proportions of the impact this project would have on the Guanabara Bay and artisanal fishing, the members of AHOMAR denounced the intentions of Petrobras and leaded a mobilization in solidarity to Breno Herrera, head of the Guapimirim environmental protection area, threatened to be dismissed from the National Institute for the Conservation of Biodiversity because of his opposition to this enterprise. Since then, the threats against the AHOMAR fisher folk has escalated.

 

To worsen this situation, in february 2012, the Police Deployment of Mauá beach, where both the AHOMAR headquarters and Alexandre Anderson's residence are located, has been deactivated, exposing the fisher folk to new threats and increasing the vulnerability of the local population. Since then, three other community leaders suffered death threats. In this context of disarray of public security in the region and escalation of threats against the fisherfolk, Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra have been murdered. This deaths were, therefore, foretold. Clear evidences were point out that both have been executed. In face of this grave events, we express all our indignation and full solidarity to AHOMAR and to the families of the murdered fishermen. At the same time, we demand: 

 

  1. That the murderers of Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra and the mandators of this crime be identified and made responsible;  
  2. That the investigations on the deaths of Paulo Santos Souza and Márcio Amaro are carried on, and that their murderers are also identified and made responsible;
  3. That all the threats against the AHOMAR fisherfolk are investigated;
  4. That the Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral, signs the Decree Law of the State Programe for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
  5. That the Presidency of the Republic Human Rights Secretariat follows closely the investigations  on the murders of the leaders mentioned above.
  6. That the protection of Alexandre Anderson is stregthen and that the police escort can be extended to protect his wife, Daize Menezes de Souza;
  7. The immediate reactivation of the DPO Praia de Mauá police deployment and the improvement of public security in the region;
  8. That Petrobras and the companies involved in the COMPERJ construction in the Guanabara Bay negotiate with AHOMAR recognizing the movement's fair agenda and the fisherfolk's demands.

 

The undersigned will go on denouncing the killing of the activists engaged in legitimate social struggle against the destruction of the conditions of artisanal fishing in the Guanabara Bay and other fishing areas of the State of Rio de Janeiro. We will also follow closely the process of investigations and measures to be taken by the State Government in the defense of all fishefolk's compromised with this struggle. The deaths of Almir, João Luiz, Paulo and Márcio lead us to affirm: we are all fisherfolk, we are all AHOMAR activists!

Feb 29, 2012

Condemning the intimidation of FoE Guatemala

by PhilLee — last modified Feb 29, 2012 11:10 AM

Friends of the Earth International condemns the recent violent incidents carried out against Friends of the Earth Guatemala (CEIBA) and the National Network in Defence of Food Sovereignty, Guatemala (REDSAG).

On February 25 the offices of Friends of the Earth Guatemala (CEIBA) and the National Network in Defense of Food Sovereignty (REDSAG) were broken into and all the computers were stolen. Money and valuable objects were not taken from the premises. This has led the organisations to believe that the crimes were politically motivated.

 

Last week CEIBA's environmental communicator, Oscar Galvez, was victim of another intimidating action. On March 15th he was attacked in the street by two people on a motorcycle. One of them threatened him with a gun and only took his laptop, containing information relevant to CEIBA and the organisations it works with.

 

The work carried out by CEIBA and REDSAG is widely known in Guatemala and around the world for its participation and promotion of processes for the defence of Indigenous Peoples and Guatemalan communities, like the successful community consultations. The groups have also opposed highly damaging projects such as mining and mega hydroelectric projects

 

Friends of the Earth International demands the authorities take the necessary steps to protect the property and physical integrity of the workers of CEIBA and REDSAG. Protecting the rights of human rights defenders is an urgent and unavoidable task. In the same way we expect that a transparent investigation into the incidents is carried out immediately.

 

Take action

Friends of the Earth International has written to the Minister of the Interior expressing our concerns. You can use the example letter (click here) or send you own email or letter using the following addresses:
 
Lic. Héctor Mauricio López Bonilla
Ministerio de Gobernación
Dirección: 6ta. Av. 13-71 Zona 1 Guatemala, C.A.
Tel: 2413-8888 ext. 1621
email: kldivas@mingob.gob.gt

Feb 16, 2012

Denouncing violent evictions in Colombia

by PhilLee — last modified Feb 16, 2012 05:49 PM

Friends of the Earth International condemns the violent evictions carried out this week in Colombia to make way for the construction of the El Quimbo hydroelectric dam.

magdalena river colombia 2
The Magdalena River, Colombia. Credit: RitaCuba

Police forces carried out a violent eviction of fishermen families from a non-violent sit-in on the shores of Magdalena river in front of the construction site of the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo'.

They left three people wounded, amongst them a young man who lost his eye due to one of the gas-canisters used by the police. The construction has seriously affected the local way of life and has has a negative impact on women and men farmers, day labourers, fishermen, traditional miners that have constructed their culture around the Magdalena river.

It has come to our attention through declarations of Asoquimbo, the local organization that represents the people affected by the project and our national organization CENSAT 'Agua Viva', that the fishermen and farmers have appealed to all legal actions available to them in the framework of the Political Constitution and legislation of Colombia to stop the project, due to the permanent non-compliance and irregularities of the environmental license given by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

 

Moreover, they have requested a Public Environmental Audience, as present in the Colombian legal framework, as a means for participation, where communities can make their demands public to entities of control, government, companies and the public in general. Up until today their request has been denied.

We strongly denounce the fact that during the eviction independent media were prevented from entering the area, amongst them our correspondent of Real World Radio, medium of communication for the Federation of Friends of the Earth.

Friends of the Earth International declares:

  • Its unconditional support to the women and men affected by the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo' in defence of their territory and their traditional ways of life.
  • Its rejection of the violent answers towards the communities that ignore the roads of dialogue Asoquimbo and local organizations have promoted during the four years of resistance against the hydroelectric project.
  • To the Colombian government to urgently attend the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, that recognised the multiple environmental impacts, and on the life and means of subsistence of communities closely tied to rivers; Approve the realisation of the Public environmental Audience requested by the local communities and guarantee the protection of the rights of the local population, directly or indirectly affected y the hydroelectric project 'El Quimbo'.
  • To the international community the importance to accompany Asoquimbo and local organizations in their valiant resistance and to support their proposal to declare the area of 'El Quimbo' a Rural and Agro-food Reserve.

Take action

Call on Colombia's government to halt the diversion of the magdalena river

Jan 04, 2012

Indonesian police fire on gold mine protesters

by PhilLee — last modified Jan 04, 2012 01:50 PM

Friends of the Earth International is shocked to learn of an attack by the Australian mining company Arc Exploration and the Indonesian security forces on 24 December against members of the Anti-Mining People’s Front (FRAT) during a peaceful protest at the Sape Harbour, Sumbawa, Indonesia.

The civilians involved are opposed to the presence of a gold mine, majority owned by Australian mining corporation Arc Exploration.

 

We have learned that the Indonesian government deployed troops and riot equipment which shot at the protesters killing three people critically injuring 19 others.

 

FRAT is opposed to the mining operation because it threatens to endanger the livelihoods of civilians, farmers and fisher folk. It believes that the mine will destroy land and disrupt water resources which will affect residents’ agricultural lands.

 

Throughout 2011 people have peacefully expressed their opposition to the mining project and each time they have been met with a violent response from government agencies and the police force.

 

Walhi, the Indonesian member of the Friends of the Earth International, recorded 103 cases of conflicts over natural resources sectors in Indonesia.


This latest fatal attach on 24 December 2011 is a clear violation of human rights and the documented cases of violence against farmers over natural resources show a troubling pattern of widespread human rights violations against the Indonesian people.

 

Friends of the Earth International has written to the Indonesian President demanding justice for the victims of the recent attack calling for him to:

 

  • revoke the Mining Permit of PT. Sumber Mineral Nusantara (SMN),
  • investigate the role of the foreign owned company in the killing of Indonesia nationals,
  • withdraw and evaluate all forces of Indonesian National Police and Military at the location of natural resource conflicts.
  • immediately stop the mentioned company’s activities which created and potentially create conflicts until the certainty of settlement is structurally created by establishing the National Committee for Resolution of Agrarian Conflicts and Natural Resources and
  • ensure legal protection for the victims.

 

Update

As a result of media work carried out by our colleagues at Friends of the Earth Australia, Arc Exploration said it has suspended operations and will report to the Australian companies regulator over the killings. In addition an Australian Senator has requested an investigation and will seek that Australian companies be held accountable to Australian law for activities overseas.

 

Further information

 

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