Mary Durran, International Programs Officer for Latin America
It seemed a million miles away from the melting glaciers, the eroding deserts and the shrinking forest frontlines of the international battle against climate change. A Catholic school hall surrounded by manicured gardens in an upper class suburb of Lima was the setting for a high level dialogue between the Peruvian bishops’ conference, bishops from France, Brazil, Bangladesh and South Africa, and delegates from some of the developed nations attending the UN climate talks currently taking place in Lima.
There is one thing that is certain and indisputable about climate change: it is the poorest people, those who are the least responsible for carbon emissions, who are suffering from the greatest impact. Another sad reality is that it is these very same people who have the least access to the resources needed to fight against climate change and its impact on their environment.
The governments of Honduras and Peru award concessions to mining companies. Villages are displaced, fields and streams are contaminated and the communities have no say. Even so, they are demanding one thing: that their right to free, prior and informed consent be respected.
Kelly Di Domenico and Khoudia Ndiaye, Communications Officers
It is appropriate that this year World Day of Social Justice falls during our Share Lent campaign - a moment where we celebrate our commitment and solidarity towards building a just world. Social justice touches on questions of rights, human dignity and solidarity. It is also deeply connected to questions of ecological justice and respect of natural resources with regards to their management, conservation and justice.
Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, Archbishop of Huancayo in Peru, has been nominated by the Pope to the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace at the Vatican. Archbishop Barreto is the President of the Department of Justice and Solidarity of the Latin American Bishops’ Conference (CELAM) and Vice-President of the Bishops' Social Action Commission (CEAS), an organization supported by Development and Peace.
The road from Lima to Huancayo, in the central Highlands of Peru, is a dusty and graffiti-streaked highway that climbs, at first slowly, out of a grey, mist-shrouded Lima. It is flanked by settlements of poor neighbourhoods, where pastel-coloured ramshackle houses are precariously perched on the mountainside, looking down on to a four-lane highway.
Yesterday, I flew to South America to attend a workshop that is being organized by CIDSE, and the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA), along with a number of Latin American civil society organizations, on how transnational corporations can be more vigilant with respect to human rights – i.e. take steps to ensure that their operations do not lead to human rights violations and damage to local communities.