From April 27 to 30, MiningWatch partners will be joining delegates from Canada and the Global South will participate in the International Gathering of Women Resisting Extractivism in Montreal. This gathering will bring together more than 40 land and life defenders from around the world to share their experiences and strategies of resistance, as well as to speak out against the threats they are facing because of their work. The gathering will highlight the impacts of extractivism on Indigenous women and the important steps they are taking to ensure the well-being of their communities and their land. It will also provide a safe space for discussions of experiences, struggles and resistance.
- Yvonne Sampear is a community activist from Ogies, in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. The founder of the Greater Phola Ogies Women’s Forum, Yvonne works to mobilize women around the effects of mining and extractive projects on their lives and livelihoods. In an area ravaged by coal mining and a large power station, women in the community have no access to energy themselves. Water has been diverted for use by mining concerns and as a result Yvonne and her group have staged a range of actions to highlight the plight of these women. Yvonne also sits on the Steering Committee of the South African arm of a Regional Campaign on climate and energy justice called Women Building Power, and is a member of WoMin (African Women Unite Against Destructive Resource Extraction).
- Cressida Kuala founded and heads up one of only two local human rights organizations headed by a woman in Porgera, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Her organization, the Porgera Red Wara (Red Water) Women’s Association, documents and advocates for the rights of women affected by Barrick Gold’s Porgera Joint venture mine in PNG, including women who have suffered sexual violence at the hands of mine security. She works closely with international NGOs and academic human rights clinics providing cultural, strategic and research support.
Resource extraction has heavy impacts Indigenous peoples across the globe. It is increasingly evident that extractive projects have particular impacts on the lives of Indigenous women through environmental contamination, gendered based violence, and increased social inequity, to name a few.
Moreover, Indigenous women are often not part of the decision-making or in the assessment of extractive project’s social and environmental impacts. Their voices are not heard and many times they are overlooked, despite their unique perspectives and knowledge and their important role in their communities.
The International Gathering of Women Resisting Resource Extraction will include closed sessions where participants are invited to share experience and strategies with other frontline activists, as well as sessions that are open to the public.
The launch of the gathering will include a mass KAIROS Blanket Exercise in French, English and Spanish for all participants and members of the public on Friday April 27, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Registration is required.
The conference will include a workshop “From the Ground Up: Feminist strategies of resistance, resilience and resurgence” on Saturday April 28 at 5:30 p.m. Indigenous women leaders from the Philippines, Latin America, Africa and coast to coast to coast in Canada will speak about creative and feminist strategies to defend human rights, land and their communities in the face of large-scale resource extraction.
If you are in the Montreal area, please consider attending these public events. Registration is required and space is limited!