A Binding Treaty about corporations can be an instrument to guarantee the respect of our rights and territories

Dario Bossio - Iglesia y Minería

“Historically we have known the dealings of the corporations in our lands, in our countries. We have known firsthand how human rights are violated in our territories. Before these violations happened, and up to this date, we were not in possession of a judicial instrument that can help communities to access justice and have companies respect and not prey on our rights and our territories. In that sense, I consider of utmost importance that we can constitute of this legal tool and obtain access to it. In the measure that we can have this tool and give it life, and make it real, it will not be just an empty promise.”

These are the words affirmed by Vidalina Morales, from the Association of Economic and Social Development, Santa Marta (ADES) of El Salvador. Her statement, was the conclusion of the Regional Meeting of the “Global Campaign to dismantle the Corporate Power and to End Impunity”. This forum took place in São Paulo, Brazil during the 22nd and the 23rd of August 2017. 

Vidalina Morales, is a simple woman, a woman engaged with the communities. For more than a decade, she has been accompanying social organizations in order to fight against mining enterprises in the department of Cabañas, El Salvador. She is not afraid of raising her voice over the lies of mining, whether in her region and country or in other contexts where she has been. Such as the Regional Meeting where she represented her organization ADES, with missionary Dário Bossio, executive member of the Network of Churches and Mining.

“In many cases, there are judicial instrument which are either forgotten or are not based on consensus. On this matter, I believe that this instrument which started to develop, and has already advancement, is based on a consensus. We have been consulted, and in the measure of involvement of the society, this Binding Treaty will be an instrument to ensure that the communities will have access to it”, affirmed Vidalina. Moreover, she adds that “It will be essential that we make this instrument real and living in order to address the dishonest activities that some of these transnational companies engage in when they operate in our countries”.

Vidalina is a woman of faith, she is also a member of the Network of Churches and Mining and she considers that “the churches, by their default, should assume a position – as our most beatified Romero said – in favor of the poor. In this context, based on the position assumed by the Church, it is important to address the most urgent necessities that affect the communities and different sectors. Because of this, the Network is supporting this path. In El Salvador, we witness a practical example of such involvement, especially of the Catholic Church up the top of its highest hierarchy: the Archbishop of San Salvador, Monsignor Escobar (other Churches are also involved in this process).

In some decisive moment, of this year, he accompanied our organizations and the population in general, in order to present a proposal of a law. In that way he joined the long effort that was carried out 12 years El Salvador to resist the mining industry. These are the real reasons that should inspire all Christians, to make a commitment with the poorest and most vulnerable everywhere in the world. Thus, we are called to make reality of the Social Doctrine of the Church and be servants of those who are in most need”.

The “Regional Meeting of the Global Campaign to dismantle the Corporate Power and end Impunity”, is an activity part of the strategy of movements, networks and social organizations of the Global Campaign that will take place during the course of a week of mobilization for a Binding Treaty about transnational corporations and human rights that will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from the 23rd to the 27th of October. In parallel, there will be the 3rd Inter-Governmental  Group Session (the Justiça nos Trilhos network will send in this meeting in Geneva, a representative of the communities affected by the state of Maranhão – probably a young quilombola).

Translated by: Giada Ferrucci

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