MAC: Mines and Communities

Map Commemorates Womenís Resistance to Mining in Latin America

Published by MAC on 2017-03-08
Source: Ejatlas.org (2017-03-08)

And in defense of life, dignity and territory

A map created by researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), the Latin-American Network of Women Defending Social and Environmental Rights and the Colombian NGO CENSAT-Agua Viva Friends of the Earth Colombia, makes visible the struggles of women in Latin America against mining and in defense of life, dignity and territory.

The interactive map “Latin-American Women Weaving Territories” was launched today to commemorate International Women’s Day and highlights 21 conflicts across the continent.

According to Dr. Leah Temper, ACKnowl-EJ Coordinator and EJatlas Director, “these women have a lot to teach us as academics about the meaning of sustainability– they are the real experts”.

See more on MAC Women Theme:

2016-09-19 Peru: Máxima Acuña Attacked Again by Minera Yanacocha Guards
2016-07-03 PNG: Women accuse Barrick Gold of ignoring rape complaints
2016-05-17 Indonesia: Women protest with their feet
2016-01-23 Calling for a reality check on gender and extractives
2015-10-10 Women bear worst impacts of the mining industry
2015-09-28 Women pay the price for Zambia mining expansion

Map Commemorating Women’s Resistance to Extractivism and Defense of Life and Territory in Latin America

Ejatlas.org

Mar 8, 2017

A map created by researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), the Latin-American Network of Women Defending Social and Environmental Rights and the Colombian NGO CENSAT-Agua Viva Friends of the Earth Colombia, makes visible the struggles of women in Latin America against mining and in defense of life, dignity and territory.

The map “Latin-American Women Weaving Territories” was launched today to commemorate International Women’s Day and highlights 21 conflicts across the continent along with the testimonies of fearless women who share their personal stories, the impacts they suffer as well as the alternatives they are putting into place.

The women who speak out in defense of nature and territory often put their lives at risk in the process. According to Global Witness of the 185 environmental defenders killed worldwide in 2015, 122 were in Latin America. Several cases on the map demonstrate the different forms of violence suffered by women due to extractive activities.

The assassination of women activists, for example, most recently of Laura Leonor Vasquez Pineda, shot dead for her resistance to the El Escobal/San Rafael gold and silver mine in Guatemala, is part of a pattern of persecution that is being denounced as femicide. The map is an initiative of the ACKnowl-EJ (Activist-Academic Co-Production of Knowledge for Environmental Justice) (www.acknowlej.org) project and a contribution to the Atlas of Environmental Justice (www.ejatlas.org), both coordinated at the UAB.

According to ACKnowl-EJ Coordinator and EJatlas Director Dr. Leah Temper, “the map makes evident the link between violence and domination against nature and violence against women. But it also dispels the myth that these women are passive victims. We see that mines are being stopped as a result of their activism. For example, the Tambor mine in Guatemala was recently suspended and in Piedras Tolima Colombia a group of women were the force behind the first citizen-organized referendum on a mining project in the country.

Daniela Rojas of CENSAT, Agua Viva, explains that the map aims to make the struggles of women visible: “This continent is a hotbed of territorial struggles where women are often the main protagonists. This fight for the health of our territories and our bodies is fundamental to stop the extractivist push enveloping Latin America. What better day to pay homage to these women? March 8 is a day of resistance, a day to commemorate the role of women in the story of humanity”.

According to Dr. Mariana Walter, the Scientific Coordinator of ACKnowl-EJ, “the conflicts show the enormous pressure that extractive activities and the governments that promote them have on the lives of women. Their tenacity and struggle is for a better future for all of us.”

The map recounts the testimony of Rosa Govela, a network member affected by the Tuligtic mine in Puebla Mexico, who says that they resist “because when we can no longer produce food on the land, we suffer the anguish of having nothing to feed our children. We also see other forms of violence increase, including prostitution, the sale of alcohol, domestic violence and human trafficking, and the break-down of relations of care.”

RENAMAT member Digna Viracochea from Challapata in Bolivia explains on the map that women in Challapata are proud of being involved in a productive alternative. “Thus, we disseminate our case of successful resistance to mining. We want it to be known that we are vigilant and we won’t allow mining in Challapata”.

According to another network member from Molletura appearing on the map, “despite the increased violence and sexism, we have lost the fear to speak out. We have begun to create networks with women from other communities and to share knowledge about ecological initiatives, and to work on raising public awareness. Through this we are continually increasing our capacity as radical communicators and art-based practices.”

This Featured map is an example of the collaborative activist-academic research approach within ACKnowl-EJ, one of three “Transformative Knowledge Networks” selected as part of the innovative Transformations to Sustainability Programme of the International Social Science Council (ISSC), which aims to create research that empowers civil society and to show the multiple visions and alternatives that communities are proposing and putting into practice.

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