We left for another early morning gathering today. There’s an injustice in there somewhere but I’ll let it sit for now!!!
Our meeting was with a group that is protesting attacks on their territories, resources and human rights. The origin of the group is found in a 2008 hunger strike by a number of attorneys. Their concern was centred on corruption and inequality found in the justice system.
We met many people, including one lady who travelled a considerable distance that had her take a 3am Bus. This perhaps illustrates how important the group felt the need to share its concerns.
Much of the issue lies in large companies wanting to buy and ultimately control resources, land and amenities. The community vigorously opposes this and explained some of the courses of action that have been taken. In some cases where the companies secured the land, the army is now installed to prevent people accessing land and amenities they believe are their property.
They would claim limited success insofar as five regions (Municipalities) have declared themselves “Mining/Hydroelectric Free”. They also were successful in having their rights, and abuse of same, included in the Universal Periodic Review reports.
The sense you had was of a people empowered and energised by a common sense of purpose and, at the same time, lacking political clout because of exclusion from decision making around their own lives and the future they wish for their children into future generations.
The group is well aware of the power of international advocacy and retains the hope that some of its members may enter politics and have a voice where it can make a lasting difference. One speaker summed it up well when he said: “In this country, if not organised, no doors are opened.”
Hospitable to the last, the group welcomed us and treated us to coffee and biscuits and the most refreshing fruit cocktail this side of perfection. The role played by Trocaire and its partner is clearly significant and without doubt appreciated.
We also saw a clinic that specialises in Natural Medicine that is supported by the local diocese. Bishop Michael Lenehan, the Irish born bishop of the diocese, had spoke to us about clinics like these when he met with us on Sunday night.
I’m calling it a night. Can’t imagine how tired the 3am Bus woman must feel!
Maybe that’s the word of the day to “feel” for people