I am posting this information in the hopes that a few people in the GTA and Ottawa area may be interested in meeting these folks before they return to their countries of origin. There are opportunities to meet them Wed., Thurs. and Fri. in Toronto. On Saturday they are travelling to Ottawa with a detour to meet those protesting the proposed uranium mine near Sharbot Lake. Contact Natalie (info. below) for details if you wish to meet them or offer support.
Aboriginal leaders from Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Western Shoshone territory (in Nevada) are in Toronto on a rare visit to Canada. They are heading to Ottawa on Saturday.
The Papua New Guinea contingent have flown 32 hours to get here, and risked their own safety and the safety of their families to so do. At home they have suffered outright murder (villagers shot by Barrick security) and rape of women villagers.
In all cases, sacred lands are being desecrated and massive water systems and ecosystems destroyed irreparably. Some of the water systems destroyed are so large the mine tailings can be seen in satellite photos.
Sadly, their stories were not covered by mass media outlets at the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting yesterday even though all the leaders obtained proxies to get in and all spoke up at the meeting and told invesors what was happening to them.
By not covering their stories, the mass media in Canada are indirectly responsible for the continued murder of their people by Barrick Gold. To arrange an interview with the Papua New Guinea and Australian contingent contact Natalie Lowrey, Friends of the Earth (Australia), 416 809 2755 – email@example.com
To arrange an interview with the Western Shoshone contingent contact Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defence Project (USA) – 775 397 1371 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a news story printed in the independant media which serves as an example of the kind of coverage that responsible news outlet would publish:
International Indigenous leaders attend Barrick Gold’s Shareholder’s meeting
Tuesday 6th May, 2008 at 10am
Indigenous leaders from Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the United States traveled to Canada this week to attend the shareholders’ meeting of Barrick Gold to make statements against Barrick’s unregulated operations on their lands.
Complaints include the killing, rape and arbitrary detention of local village people in Papua New Guinea by Barrick security, the destruction of spiritual sites in Australia and the United States, and the pollution of water resources at all of Barrick’s mines. The tour is heading to Ottawa after the shareholders’ meeting where they have arranged meetings with members of parliament.
At Lake Cowal, Australia, Barrick is importing 6090 tonnes of sodium cyanide into the flood plain renowned for severe flooding. ‘Barrick Gold has absolutely no respect for our cultural heritage and the very essence of our cultural being is at stake,’ stated Neville ‘Chappy’ William, Wiradjuri elder and spokesperson for Mooka and Kalara United Families, the traditional owners of the Lake Cowal area. In addition to creating an open-pit mine in the ‘Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation,’ Barrick has confiscated thousands of Wiradjuri cultural objects from the mine site and refuses to return them to the traditional owners.
According to Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer of the Akali Tange Association, a human rights organization in Papua New Guinea, ‘Barrick’s Porgera Mine is a textbook case of what can go wrong when large-scale mining confronts indigenous peoples, ignoring the impacts of its projects and resorting to goon squads when people rebel against it. This outrages the conscience of local Indigenous communities, especially when the mine is right next to our homes; my people are exposed to dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury; some of our people down in the tailings and waste during floods; and fishing stocks, flora and fauna are depleted down the river systems, leading to indigenous food sources being threatened.’
‘The international community has spoken quite clearly on these matters. The United States has been told on two separate occasions to cease and desist the destructive activities on Shoshone lands and Canada has been told to rein in its corporate giants like Barrick,’ stated Larson Bill, Western Shoshone Community Planner, referencing the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) in their review of Canada last year.
According to a 2005 Parliamentary Standing Committee report, ‘Canada does not yet have laws to ensure that the activities of Canadian mining companies indeveloping countries conform to human rights standards, including the rights of workers and of indigenous people.’ As of 2008, these regulatory issues have yet
to be resolved.
The leaders include:
Larson R. Bill, Community Planner, Western Shoshone Defense Project, USA
Neville Williams, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal, Australia
Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer, Akali Tange Association, PapuaNew Guinea
Mark Ekepa, Chairman, Porgera Landowners Association,
Anga Atalu, Secretary, Porgera Landowners Association, Papua New Guinea
This effort is supported by:
Western Shoshone Defence Project (USA)
Mining Watch Canada (Canada)
Mineral Policy Institute (Australia)
Friends of the Earth (Australia)
Porgera Land Owners Association (Papua New Guinea)
Atali Tange Association (Papua New Guinea)
Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defence Project (USA)
&nbs; 775 397 1371 – email@example.com
Natalie Lowrey, Friends of the Earth (Australia)
416 809 2755 – firstname.lastname@example.org