Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’
Building a world of justice
Compassion goes hand-in-hand with solidarity
Share Lent 2011 is the annual awareness and fundraising campaign of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
Jesus felt compassion when faced with human suffering. We are called to feel that same depth of compassion when faced with the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Through your generous donations to Development and Peace this and every Lent, you help build a world of justice.
A blog for Share Lent!
This year, in addition to the printed material, Development and Peace has also created an interactive blog that will use the testimony of members to publicize the work being carried out by its partners in the Global South.
There you will find photos, videos and articles to share.
The blog will be active starting on the first day of Lent, March 9, 2011. You can subscribe to the blog right away! You will receive an invitation to follow the blog during its launch and a weekly update of published articles.
In the meantime, you can receive daily information about Development and Peace, its campaigns and its partners in the Global South by becoming part of our community in the social media:
New: Participate in fundraising online
This year, for the very first time, you can participate in our online fundraising efforts for Share Lent by creating a personal page. Offer your talents to those who need them (music, gardening, cooking) and, in exchange, ask your entourage to give to Development and Peace.
Fundraising online will be possible starting on March 9, 2011. You can sign up now to the blog to receive the necessary information in the week before Lent.
Share your comments and questions here and stay tuned for updates from the Share Lent Blog 2011.
Online Outreach Officer
“Welcome to Development and Peace. Please fasten your seatbelt to prepare for the ride of your life!”
This is what I could have been told as I landed in Ottawa this past September 2010. I arrived in Ontario, a western Canadian girl, trying my very best to have no preconceived notions. I came as an undergraduate student with the Laurentian Leadership Centre, a semester long internship program with Trinity Western University, hoping to cap off my degree in International Studies with an insider’s look at a development organization.
What drew me specifically to Development and Peace is the fact that it is a Catholic-based organization working, in direct relationship with the Church, guided by Catholic social teaching, to effectively transform the world in love through social justice action. My prior limited experience with D&P set me as an open book to be written in.
Well, rides and books aside (I am the analogy queen) interning in the Eastern Ontario Regional office was a wonderful experience. The small office—my supervisor and I comprised the office workforce—saw a flurry of activity from rallies to speaking engagements to creative adventures. I quickly discovered the mission of D&P, the basics of the operation, and the breadth of issues that the organization has tackled.
The timing of my placement allowed me to jump head in to the work conducted in support of Bill C-300. Despite the bill’s defeat in the House of Commons the entire process was such a great opportunity to be amidst the action. It opened lines of meaningful dialogue, challenging me to dig deeper and ask serious questions outside of the academic setting. I met such inspiring, passionate people. For me, it was a firsthand chance to see passion put into action—the way conviction is meant to challenge our comfortable lives.
Much of the remainder of my internship experience was meaningful in a different way. It was my turn to put faith and conviction into action. Our office moved forward in what I have coined the “Ottawa Catholic Schools Initiative”. It has been a concerted (and successful) effort to further partner with the Ottawa Catholic schools and surrounding area to share our passion and educate students on issues; it is specifically aimed to be interactive, for students to feel empowered and inspired, to know that they can make a difference. How this crystallized was through collaborative efforts with chaplains and presentations to a number of schools in the area.
Now the time has come to leave. I have met amazing people who are the lifeblood of D&P. I have been inspired by people who stand for change, who are willing to change their own lives to see transformation become a reality. I have been challenged. And now I fasten my seatbelt to go home…
by Suzanne Cailliau
(former) Intern to the Eastern Ontario Regional Animator with Development and Peace
We launched a flickr account to highlight your efforts in promoting our fall campaign: Water for all. Let justice flow.
Check out this link to access our flickr album where we upload the pictures of members/supporters with their: ‘Bottled Water Free Zone” pledge card.
We are also uploading the pictures of public places that made a commitment to be bottled water free zones!
Please send your picture with your pledge card or a public place that is a bottled water free zone to email@example.com and we will upload your picture as well.
Thank you for your support!
Online Outreach Officer
Development and Peace
All our members, young or older, are deeply disappointed, as well as our partners in the Global South, who really welcomed Bill C-300 on responsible mining and corporate social accountability. For years, we have listened to their stories about how Canadian mining companies are taking over their land, polluting their water sources, destroying their environment, and often without consulting the affected communities or listening to their concerns.
So, what next? Where do we go from here?
One thing that has inspired me about this crucial campaign is the way we have finally had the real-life stories told in the media. The week leading up to the vote was flooded with news about corporate social accountability. Google Bill c300 and you will see what I mean!
Before I mention next steps in advocacy, I want to share with you some great relfections and analysis.
Open letters to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff (Digital Journal)
Big hole in mine control: MP no-shows play politics with bill to protect poor countries from Canuck eco crimes (NOW magazine)
by Genevieve Gallant, Development and Peace
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is disappointed by the defeat of Bill C-300 by a mere six votes in the House of Commons, with 24 MPs not showing up for the vote. The Bill would have improved the standards of corporate accountability of Canadian mining companies operating overseas.
“It is a very disheartening outcome,” said Michael Casey, Executive Director of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, who, with all its members, have supported Bill C-300 since it was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill by MP John McKay (Lib-Scarborough-Guildwood) in 2009. For 5 years the organization has campaigned to protect communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America against human rights abuses and environmental degradation caused by Canadian companies.
“Our 11,500 members are deeply disappointed, as are our partners in the Global South, who really welcomed the Bill,” added Mr. Casey. “For years, we have listened to their stories about how Canadian mining companies are taking over their land, polluting their water sources, destroying their environment, and often without consulting the affected communities or listening to their concerns.”
The Canadian Campus Ministers Soldiarity Trip to Honduras learned first hand the phenominally detrimental effects of Canadian mining companies. Read about their expereince here. The Bill would have put in place a complaint mechanism, whereby allegations of abuse would be investigated and accompanied by minor sanctions if not redressed.
“Over the last three years, our members have met with dozens of MPs all across the country to present them with postcards signed by constituents asking that the government ensure that Canadian mining companies act responsibly abroad. In total, 500,000 postcards were signed and sent to Parliamentarians,” added Casey.
“This would have ensured greater justice for all and how can you oppose that,” he asked.
It is unacceptable that more than 1 billion people still go to bed hungry each night, when access to food is the most basic of human rights and is a question of fundamental justice.
Development and Peace believes that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will go down in history as empty promises if world leaders do not act now to make goal number one a priority, followed by seven other goals which generally seek to reduce the symptoms of poverty.
All eight MDGs may not be reached if we cannot meet goal number one – to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The success or failure of one goal affects the success of the other seven– like a domino effect. For example, lack of access to food is not only a symptom of severe poverty, but a symptom of the realities that the other seven MDGs seek to tackle.
Read Development and Peace’s statement on MDG’s HERE
Read about each MDG HERE
Everyone is involved in making the MDGs a reality!
For Development and Peace partner organizations in the Global South, hunger is a pressing issue that their governments cannot resolve on their own.
There are many players involved like the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to help with goal number eight, by putting in place new trading and financial policies to enable the poorest countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals, however almost nothing has been done to ensure that world trade rules enable poorer countries to feed their own populations. Empowering poorer countries to feed their own populations is enabling food sovereignty which is defined as “the right of people to determine their own food and agricultural policies”.
FACT: Hunger is on the rise since 2008, where 64 million more people became extremely impoverished as a result of the recession2, bringing to 1.5 billion the number living in extreme poverty, defined by the United Nations as those living under US$1.25 per day.
To make the MDGs a reality, the right to food must be woven together with the right to food sovereignty. In order to get on track meet MDG #1 and ensure an end to hunger, Development and Peace calls for:
- Industrialized countries should support small scale national agricultural production in the countries of the Global South, in line with food sovereignty principles
- Wealthier nations must also take steps to meet targets of giving 0.7% of GDP in international aid. Such aid should go to the world’s poorest countries and be determined by development needs rather than geo-political concerns
- Canada and other wealthy nations should promote international trade rules that allow poor countries to prioritize national agricultural production, rather than industrial agricultural production for soy and corn based agrofuels.
- G8 nations should implement a financial transaction tax as a way to control speculation and capital flows in an effort to raise funds for development and avert further financial crises fuelled by uncontrolled speculation and ensuing hikes in food prices.
The Millennium Development Goals will not be met if urgent measures are not taken to tackle world hunger and to ensure that the right to food becomes a reality for all human beings.
by Natalie Lucas, Youth Programs Intern Fall 2010
It’s time to act. There is a new report released on October 1st, 2010, by the United Nations which documents extensive atrocities committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 1993 to 2003.
Development and Peace and its fellow members of the Table de Concertation de la Région des Grands Lacs have great respect for the report and we want it to be a call to action. It’s time for Canada and the international community to take action to ensure justice for the victims of these abuses.
You can read the statement here.
Learn more about the report and the abuses in the DRC here.
Much of Filipino history has been dominated by spurts of colonial rule that has had lasting effects on many elements of current Filipino society. Our partners in the Philippines were able to shed light on many of the ways that years of Spanish and American rule continue to impact the country. One of the persisting effects of colonial rule is in land ownership.
On August 18th, we had the opportunity to observe a demonstration in Legazpi City pertaining to the Hacienda Luisita struggle. Close to 6,500 hectares in size, this sprawling piece of land has been used as a tool for oppression since the 1800s under Spanish rule. After being handed over to the Americans for a brief period, when it became a sugar plantation, it was finally purchased in 1957 by Don Pepe Cojuangco. Cojuangco was father-in-law to then rising politician Ninoy Aquino, who later became the opposition leader to the Marcos dictatorship. Current president Benino Aquino and his family remain part owners of the Hacienda.
One of the stipulations upon purchase was that in 10 years time, the Hacienda Luisita land would have to be redistributed to its tenants – the peasants that lived on and worked the land – at terms and costs that were reasonable. But 10 years came and went, and the Cojuangco-Aquino ownership refused to hold up their end of the bargain.
The result has been a decades-long, ongoing struggle to have proprietors redistribute the land to which the tenants are legally entitled. In 2004, during a blockade by plantation workers and union leaders, soldiers and police dispatched by then president Gloria Arroyo fired at least 1000 rounds of ammunition at the blockade, killing 12 and injuring hundreds. The event is known as the Hacienda Luisita Massacre. To date, no one has been charged for this heinous crime. Other attempts to pacify the farmers – rightful owners of the land – have included offering short-term monetary compensation and stock-options, rather than the land itself.
August18th was a National Day of Outrage call-out to stand in solidarity with the farmers against the compromise deal being offered by the current hacienda owners. The Supreme Court was scheduled to hold an oral hearing on the Stock Option Deal. Farmers and allies from all over the country organized different actions in their respective cities to ensure their voices were heard in the court dispute. It was in this action that our group was participating.
The Centre for Environmental Concern, one of Development and Peace’s partners that hosted us during the trip, is part of a multi-sectoral alliance that organized the action. The demo we attended was held outside the Department for Agrarian Reform regional office in Legazpi City. While the issue was new to all of us, it was important for us to get a small taste of the activism and mobilization that is happening around agrarian reform in the Philippines.
To date, there has still been little action on revoking the stock option deal and ensuring that the farmers get the land that they are entitled to and have been struggling to attain for decades. As human rights advocates and as supporters of a just and sustainable world, we all must stand in solidarity with the farmers of the Hacienda Luisita and our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world fighting for their rights.
On our Solidarity Trip we were hosted by 3 partner organizations of Development and Peace. We had a chance to learn about the realities and the community organizing taking place amongst urban poor, farming, and fishing communities in the Philippines.
For the first part of our trip we were hosted by the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), based in Manila, an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit human rights organization. http://urbanpoorassociates.blogspot.com/
UPA is an organization campaigning for the protection of housing rights and the prevention of forced evictions and illegal demolitions.
It was established to educate families in housing rights matters and assist communities in eviction crises. Since they began UPA has educated over 285,000 families in housing rights and assisted 510 communities in eviction crises.
With UPA’s amazing Community Organizers as our guides we visited 3 urban poor communities. Baseco, an older and the largest of the urban poor areas; Route 10, a temporary community near the port and on the side of a large highway; and thirdly, Stormy Mountain, a community of the poor in a difficult housing situation, who recycle garbage as a means of livelihood.
The next segment of our trip we spent NASSA – Caritas Philippines, http://nassa.org.ph/ who are about total human development with a preferential option for the poor. We were blessed with a chance to meet with Bishop Bapillo, the auxilliary bishop of Manila, http://bishoppabillo.blogspot.com/ who taught us about the work of NASSA, as the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines.
NASSA has over 80 social action centres across the country that organise and direct local social justice activities. They have also developed an extensive and popular system of Basic Ecclesial Communities, who are led by committed local people to put justice, peace and community in action.
We met with lay-people, priests, farmers and families and experienced their incredible community-building, faith-developing, and hospitality.
With NASSA we travelled to Bicol region to visit and spend time with rural communities to learn about sustainable and organic farming, along with the important issue of land and agrarian reform. More first-hand experiences at farming to come!
Our last leg of the trip we spent with the Centre for Environmental Concern, http://www.cecphils.org/about.php who accompany communities in addressing environmental concerns. The Philippines is incredible bio-diverse, and is in fact the most bio-diverse centre of the world when it comes to fish, corals and ocean life. With CEC we discovered the impact of mining on the environment, livelihoods and communities of fisherfolk.
CEC has volunteers who give new meaning to the word commitment. They address environmental challenges, defend communities and work for sustainable alternatives.With them, we travelled to Rapu-Rapu where our host families, fisherpeople for generations, are unable to put fish on the table, nor drink from their wells, as a result of mining environmental abuses on the island.
We met with the people most impacted by extractive industries and who are accompanied by CEC in tackling this critical issue through education, action and advocacy.
On our trip we met with alot of inspiring people and learned about alot of difficult issues and people-first solutions. Stay posted as the 12 of us continue to share with you our stories, experiences and reflections!
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Last Sunday afternoon – amidst thousands of police officers, mob-like media, a fence stretching on for miles, the leaders of the 20 most affluent countries in the world, and a city gone completely awry – hundreds of peace-loving, spirit-sounding, song-singing activists gathered at the corner of King and Bay to speak to God.
I had the privilege of being part of the D&P youth delegation to Huntsville and Toronto for the G8/G20 leaders summits.
This peace vigil, hosted by the Student Christian Movement and Christian Peacemaker Teams, was the last leg of our journey after a long weekend of calling on our leaders to take action on food sovereignty and the rights of small-scale farmers in the Global South.
It was evident to me from attending another protest earlier in the day, and from just walking the streets of Toronto on Sunday, that the city was on edge. The heavy police presence created tension and anxiety, and the violent tactics used by a handful of protesters the previous day had frustrated many.
But for a short time, this prayer vigil was a sanctuary in a broken world.
We marched – singing Kyrie Elision, chanting Alleluia, holding signs and banners with messages of peace and support.
We marched – families, young and old, Christian and Jewish, Catholic and Muslim, men and women, religious and lay people – all committed, prayerfully present and all learning from each other.
We marched – one united, peaceful force, bent on restoring hope and love to a world ravaged by despair and violence.
We sat – faced with no other choice as a line of police blocked our movement towards the fence.
We sat – in solidarity with the oppressed.
We sat – praying for justice for all those that are persecuted.
We sat –in spite of the riot police and their efforts to create fear and seclusion.
We sat – and sang to the music of our brothers’ and sisters’ struggles for justice. ¡Presente!
We sat – and vowed to “keep on marching forward, never turning back”.
And as the tension rose between police and demonstrators, we sang until the fear and hatred had subsided and we could once again recognize and celebrate our common humanity.
The Spirit is alive and it flows through those with a hunger for justice and a thirst for peace.
I am honoured to live among such devoted activists who refuse to surrender to the propagation of fear and the seduction of apathy.
To all those who work for, who play for, who sing for, who long for, who create for, who pray for peace – blessed are you.
May this vigil serve as a lasting reminder of the importance and power of peace in a world that often dismisses it.
by Kaitlyn Duthie-Kannikkatt, Eastern Ontario Youth Rep
(Pictures from Torontoist, Flickr and CBC )