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Amnesty International Public Statement re: South Africa

Published 7 February 2019

South Africa: Authorities must protect coastal community’s rightto consent to future mining on their land

We from The Crowd Versus strongly support the following Public Statement, issued by Amnesty International’s about the visit by Gwede Mantashe, the Minister of Mineral Resources of South Africa, to the community of the Indigenous Amadiba community. They have been fighting for their #RightToSayNo for over twelve years now. Not many years ago, the community suffered when their leader Sikosiphe ‘Bazooka’ Rhadebe, the Chairman of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, was brutally murdered at his home on the Wild Coast in March of 2016. This remains a harsh reality for those people on the ground, who are brave enough to take on these big corporations.

In part, the Public Statement reads as follows:

“Amnesty International strongly condemns the failure of the Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, to allow an effective voice to the Indigenous Amadiba community at a meeting held on the 16 January 2019. The meeting was part of ongoing consultations that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) initiated regarding proposed mining in the area.

As part of the meeting’s proceedings, the contested local traditional leader, King Sigcau, claimed that the Amadiba land belongs to him, and that mining will take place there. The King thereby effectively sought to exclude anyone else from the affected community, including women, youth who were at the meeting, from participating in decision-making on the future of mining on their land.

During a Question and Answer Session a man who claimed to be an Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) member, claimed that the ACC want mining. Since this view does not represent the views of the ACC who oppose mining, a commotion then ensued. The purported ACC supporter’scomments drew wide disapproval from community members present, resulting in the Minister bringing the meeting to a premature closing. Nonhle Mbuthuma, the ACC spokesperson, pleaded with him not to close the meeting, and asked which village the purported ACC supporter came from in Amadiba. Minister Mantashe ignored the question, however and exited the marquee.

Amnesty International is alarmed by the Minister’s misrepresentation of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) as having interrupted the meeting. In effect, the Minister’s actionsdisregarded affected community members who wanted to share their views on proposed mining in Amadiba, including environmental human rights defender Nonhle Mbuthuma, the spokesperson of the ACC. The government effectively excluded the community from the purported consultations.”

Link to Public Statement here

Growing Up in an Oil Contaminated Environment: The Effects on Children

Posted on January 29, 2019

The Ecuadorian Amazon is one of the most beautiful and diverse natural areas in the world, but after a major environmental disaster, children now grow up in a contaminated environment. 

Twenty five years ago the oil company Chevron caused one of the largest oil spills in history. It still affects the lives of the people living in the area, because people get sikc, children grow up in a contaminated environment, and animals and plants die.

UDAPT

A group of 30,000 indigenous peoples and peasant united in UDAPT to fight a legal battle against Chevron. They want the oil spill cleaned up and a health program for the people affected.

Parents Struggle

For children, growing up in an environment like this is hard. They see their parents struggle and there is not much they can do. The legal battle goes on for 25 years and the major question is: will they ever see justice?

Tell the world

To tell the world about their situation, the children made drawings of their life. The message is clear: we are suffering. The only way to make their lives better, is by supporting the legal case. Only by law can Chevron be held accountable, and be forced to clean up their mess.

You can help by sharing this message, or support the case financially, because these children deserve a better future .

children's life after an oil spill

This is Why the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation Is Asking for a Hearing

Posted on January 22, 2019

overview of mining activity for hearing

The Beaver Lake Cree First Nation fights a monumental legal battle to end tar sands projects on their territory. It destroys their land and their way of life. On 19 February the case has an important hearing. This is what happened before. 

Treaty 6

In 1876 the Canadian Crown promised the First Nations that in exchange for sharing their lands and keeping the peace, they could keep their way of life, culture, and the right to hunt, fish, trap in perpetuity. This is called Treaty 6.

19.000 fossil fuel mining projects

Since, the government of Canada and Alberta gave permission for 19 000 fossil fuel mining projects on the territory of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation. This goes against Treaty 6.

Tarsands mining

Most of these 19.000 projects are tar sands mining projects. Tar sands mining is one of the most polluting forms of mineral developments, causing worldwide climate change.

Legal action

In 2008 Beaver Lake Cree First Nation filed a legal action against the governments of Canada and Alberta over the constitutional standing of numerous tar sands projects.

The case could proceed

After 5 years of beleaguered battling the case could go to trial. Alberta and Canada fought every step of the way to have the claim dismissed, but the court disagreed and has allowed the case to proceed.

19 February

On 19 February 2019 the case has an important hearing. You can support the case by sharing the message or donating today.

More information: RAVEN Trust

Meet our team: Jone van Rees, one of the driving forces behind the platform

Posted on January 18, 2019

Jone van Rees

Who works and volunteers their time behind the scenes at The Crowd Versus? All different kinds of people do. 

We have held jobs in the business and legal industries. We apply that knowledge to help create this online platform to support important cases worldwide achieve justice.

Sometimes that justice has been years due, sometimes more than twenty.

Belief in Justice for All

Jone van Rees enjoys an extensive background as a legal assistant, spanning over 14 years in various areas of jurisprudence. Her degree from Georgia State University in English rhetoric and ability to speak several languages is another one of her strengths. In 2015 she started her own business in copy edit and works as a coach with aspiring authors.

She is a creative individual who likes to play with words and images in languages.

“The judicial system can effect important changes in society, in a peaceful manner, to reflect the values and norms that ensure justice for all.”

According to Jone: “The belief in justice being achieved via the legal system represents part of my personal motivation to work and volunteer in human environmental justice. I love the law and all what it entails, how it touches all aspects of our lives. The best part of being in this position is that I also get to meet and help change the world with amazing people, like Kirsten Youens, Pablo Fajardo Mendoza, Susan Smitten, René Sanchéz Galindo, and other incredible activists and community leaders.

These are all outstanding attorneys and dedicated people who work long hours for little or no pay. And now I help run the backend of The Crowd Versus’s website to make this world a better place for those who come after us, the new generations.”

Background

  • Coordinate campaigns for The Crowd Versus, social media channels in different languages, website back-end
  • Editor and coach for authors, founder of scriptumbene.com
  • Volunteer Greenpeace PNW social media
  • International Board member of scivias-institut.de
  • Guide and administrative work at the Nederlands Tegelmuseum
  • Legal assistant for various law firms in corporate, defense and plaintiff litigation in Atlanta, GA
  • Secretary for business firms, also on a multi-national level

19 February 2019 Important Hearing in Beaver Lake Cree First Nation Case

Posted on January 17, 2019

tarsandstrial - spilled colours oil

Beaver Lake Cree First Nation is taking on the tarsands – Canada’s fastest growing source of climate pollution. Tar sands extraction is poisoning the water, eliminates whole forests, and decimates traditional food sources for the Beaver Lake Cree people. Politicians won’t challenge the power of the tar sands industry, but together we can. Support their case or help them share the message. 

Precedent Setting Case

The Beaver Lake Cree Nation is the first ever case to challenge and be granted a trial on the cumulative impacts of industrial development and they have a hearing on February 19, 2019. Their goal is:

Not one project, not one mine: all of them at once must go. 

This hearing will determine whether they will be granted the financial means to go to trial, and your support is vital. If they win, we all win.

Situation

The Beaver Lake Cree homeland has been scarred and polluted by an incredible number of tar sands projects. Oil and gas wells and infrastructure have displaced the moose and elk. Drainage from the winning of tar sands has polluted the water. Caribou may be driven to extinction in this region within 10 years.

What is the accusation?

Beaver Lake Cree Nation is accusing the governments of Canada and Alberta for breaking their treaty promises. They have allowed over 19 000 permits for mineral developments (mostly tar sands) on their territory. These fossil fuel projects threaten the way of life of the Beaver Lake Cree, by polluting and fragmenting the land and water that have sustained them for centuries.

February 19th

On February 19th the hearing will be held. Will they get justice to be able to carry on?

Join the movement

It’s time to join forces to protect the environment, climate, and Indigenous People’s right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

The power of the crowd

The individual cannot change history, but together as individuals we can.

You can contribute to this case by donating money and share the message.

What’s at stake for Indigenous peoples is at stake for all of us. Justice, balance, protecting local communities from further harm, and a livable climate.

more information: RAVEN Trust

New US Congresswomen Carry Hopes of Native Americans

Posted on January 4, 2019

Sharice Davids native american congresswoman

When the new US Congress is sworn in Thursday, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will not only represent their districts, but also Native American women, one of the most marginalized groups in the US. The two new US Congresswomen carry hopes of Native Americans.

Native Americans have had scant representation in Congress throughout US history, and they are one of the most marginalized groups in the country. At the federal level, there are only two representatives in the US House of Representatives who identify as indigenous, and none in the US Senate.

But as of Thursday, indigenous people in the US will have two new seats at the table in Congress: Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids made history when they became the first two Native American women elected, as part of what became known as the “pink wave” — the record number of women who won races during the 2018 midterm elections.

Read full article on DW.com. 

The Fight to Save the Traditional Tortilla in Mexico – New York Times

Posted on December 27, 2018

tortilla wrap

In Mexico, the classic staple – made with heirloom corn – is under pressure from mass production and modernity, but small torilla producers are pushing back. 

TLAXIACO, Mexico — Petra Cruz González wakes at 6 every morning to make some 400 tortillas by hand. Despite a few modern advancements, like an electric flour mill and a metal hand press, she still cooks them over a wood fire as she learned to do when she was 8 years old.

Handmade tortilla

Ms. González, 49, sells tortillas on the street and from her home. As the president of the Union de Palmeadoras in Tlaxiaco, which started in 1990 to organize this Oaxacan city’s handmade tortilla producers, she believes this is important work. The union’s 89 members (all but one a woman) are fighting to keep this millenniums-old tradition alive in the face of cheaper competitors.

Quality is suffering

Quality has suffered in the race for the cheapest tortilla; nearly half the supply is now made with industrially produced masa harina, or corn flour, like Maseca, but small producers are pushing back. 

Read full article on nytimes.com.

Hiring: Country Lead Coordinators

Posted on December 22, 2018

______________________________________________________________

We are looking for self-employed professionals active in the social enterprise industry and/or online activists, aspiring to have a bigger impact through social media coordination, on a part-time basis. 

Do you live in The Netherlands, South Africa, the United States, or Canada?

We are looking for you.

The Crowd Versus (TCV) is the crowdfunding platform for legal actions against irresponsible companies and governments worldwide.

We are seeking independent and result-oriented individuals to coordinate the communications in the countries where some our cases are pending (Canada, South Africa, among others), aimed at raising awareness and donations for cases.

We have partnered with CIVICUS Alliance and Hivos and wish to enlarge our network with highly motivated and organized persons who care about all people and the environment.

Responsibilities

  • Translation of planned content for & help plan activation of TCV cases
  • Edit raw content into attractive social media posts, newsletters, blogs, press releases, and case updates
  • Manage online local TCV social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Monitor results (Google Analytics, A/B testing if necessary) and report on plan versus actual

Requirements

  • Outstanding time-management and planning skills
  • Strong interpersonal and written communication skills in the native country
  • Experience with online channels
  • Native language of the country involved and English, at a minimum
  • Self-starter

Additional Information

  • This is a part-time and work-at-home position, remunerated by a percentage of donations raised via your communications on social media channels
  • Our Foundation is based in The Hague in The Netherlands, but we collaborate with a global team and with global partners by using online collaboration tools like Skype, Google Docs, Zoom, Dropbox, etc.

Interested? Send your application with resume to support@thecrowdversus.org

Why Government South Africa Rejects GMO Maize

Posted on December 17, 2018

GMO free corn

In October, 2018, the government of South Africa refused to authorize the GM Triple Stacked maize from Monsanto. They wanted to implement this for commercial growing. 

The Executive Council through the GMO Act stated that the data provided by Monsanto were not convincing. The data did not demonstrate the significant claim that GM maize was drought-tolerant, insect-resistant, and would lead to better yields than conventional maize.

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is elated with the decision of the South African bio-safety authorities. They consistently disputed the accuracy of Monsanto’s claims of increased yield performance. ACB and more than 25 000 people, from South Africa and around the world, signed a petition to reject Monsanto’s application.

ACB’s Executive Director Mariam Mayet remains hopeful that South Africa may be taking an important lead, as evidence emerges of the failure of GM technology. Today, the ACB calls on all African governments to implement holistic strategies. These strategies already show effectiveness in the field to support small-holder farmers. These include various agro-ecological strategies such as inter-cropping, the ‘push-pull’ system, and integrated pest management strategies.

This approach can provide sustainable solutions. Other positive outcomes are that it will not further involve debt for the farmers. Additionally, it will not compromise their health or that of their surrounding environment.

GMO companies also want to pave their way into Mexico to grow GM corn at a commercial level. They want to force farmers to grow GM corn there. This will harm biodiversity and ultimately puts Mexican cultural heritage and way of life at risk. Maize originated in Mexico.

Change this by helping Mexican citizens stop this.

Source Sustainablepulse.com