PBI-Canada speaks on the accompaniment of defenders at the London Regional Social Forum
Peace Brigades International-Canada was honoured to participate in the London Regional Social Forum this past Saturday September 12.
Their promotion had noted:
“Join us on the second weekend of September for our activist community-building virtual event. Our many experienced speakers will guide us through informative lectures and practical workshops, on topics ranging from effective struggle against privatization and austerity politics to mental health activism and Indigenous communities’ defense of biodiversity.”
Our presentation was titled: Accompanying the frontline struggles for climate justice.
We noted that:
Between the signing of the Paris climate agreement in December 2015 and the end of last year, 783 land and environmental rights defenders have been murdered.
That means, on average, about 4 defenders have been killed each week since that climate agreement was signed.
More than 30 per cent of the fatal attacks against land and environmental defenders over the past 5 years have been against Indigenous defenders (even though Indigenous peoples make up 5 per cent of the world’s population).
The struggles of land and environmental rights defenders includes opposition to extractivist megaprojects including oil and gas projects, fracking, pipelines, hydroelectric dams, transmission lines, deforestation, major mining projects, and monoculture and agribusiness. It can also include the fight against transnational driven wind power and solar megaprojects that lack free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities.
We then profiled and shared the stories of some of the land and environmental defenders PBI accompanies in Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.
And we ended our presentation listing the ways people can help defend these defenders, which includes:
– volunteering to accompany defenders through one of our field projects (we post openings for these placements in our e-newsletter, website and social media accounts);
– subscribing to our Emergency Response Network and e-newsletter;
– participating in PBI webinars (we are working with other PBI entities on a webinar on police violence this coming October).
Thank you once again to the London Regional Social Forum for the opportunity to virtually participate in their gathering via Zoom.