Religious organizations reject attempted co-optation of mining companies

Religious organizations reject attempted co-optation of mining companies

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The Churches and Mining network repudiated the co-optation strategy by financing and assisting "theological seminaries in various parts of the world to better equip pastors and church leaders to serve communities affected by mining projects."

Through an open letter, he affirms that the duty of companies “is to obtain the prior consent of the communities before setting up a business, guarantee adequate conditions for its licensing, avoid social and environmental damage, pay taxes to the State for its social policies and fines for every violation provoked. "

He adds that "it is by doing this, and not suggesting another type of financing or partnership, that they will gain our recognition as responsible actors."

It states that “pastoral agents do not need the training of mining companies to competently exercise mediation” in dialogue processes.

He adds that the mining initiative seeks to use the Church to benefit its interests and weaken its role as "advocate for justice and defender of the poor", the latter a quote from Pope Francis in his speech to the communities of Rio de Janeiro, in July 2013.

Don't miss the open letter below:

The Church cannot be bought

Open letter from Churches and Mining on the seduction of mining companies

Iglesias y Minería is a Latin American network of Christian, religious and religious communities that, with the support of various bishops, the Panamazonic Ecclesiastical Network (REPAM), the Justice and Peace department of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) and the Latin Council Americano de Iglesias (CLAI), has been working for two years to deal with the impacts of mining.

We know closely the suffering of many traditional communities and peoples, as well as the violations of environmental rights and of future generations caused by large mining ventures that are expanding on our continent. These are business operations against rights in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights and the UN principles on multinational companies and human rights.

Several bishops and some episcopal conferences have on many occasions spoken to support the affected communities and have denounced the conflicts caused by mining companies, often with the endorsement of the nation states.

The pastoral action of the churches, alongside the communities and with their official positions, has been effective in demonstrating the contradiction of the extractivist economic model and its damage to human life and the planet. In the same way, they have contributed to strengthen the peoples in their struggles and resistance, as well as in the construction of alternatives.

The largest mining multinationals are trying to organize strategies that oppose this action and the complaints. Even increasing their presence in the territories and with the communities, the companies have not managed to seduce the leaders and the most conscientious inhabitants, organized in many cases around the Christian communities.

There was then an institutional approach: senior executives and major shareholders of several mining companies requested a day of "retreat" in the Vatican (in October 2013) and a day of reflection in Canterbury, to approach the Anglican Church (in October 2014). Also in these cases, despite finding listening and openness to dialogue, they were not able to co-opt the churches and get them to bless their operations, since the mining companies obviously seek to satisfy economic and financial interests and, in most cases, their Formal declarations do not correspond to an effective practice of listening and respecting the communities in the territories.

The third seductive initiative was recently launched. We want it to be known, along with our deepest repudiation.

Called “mining in alliance (We attach the document with the complete proposal, which was received by some of our religious congregations in March 2015.)”, it is proposed “to help theological seminaries in different parts of the world to better equip pastors and church leaders to serve communities affected by mining projects ”. It exemplifies the benefits that this initiative will bring to both businesses and churches. He proposes that churches "think theologically, ethically and liturgically about mining, locally and internationally."

On this initiative, we want to express our position:

  • We repudiate the invitation for the church to make an alliance with the mining companies. Rereading the document written on the occasion of the “retreat” in the Vatican, it becomes even clearer what the companies understand by this alliance: They ask themselves "How is it that the mining industry can make a better impression?" and a businessman declares that his expectation is that “an opinion leader of the stature of the Catholic Church (…) will help inform the population globally about the significant progress made in the mining sector”.
  • It is not the role of the churches to convince their faithful about the goodness of a venture. It is also absurd to think that the church can simply "serve the communities affected by mining projects." The church (cf.GS1) assumes the dramas, hopes and demands of the poorest and the victims of an economy that tends to discard more and more people (EG53) and that is definitely compromising the balance of Creation. The duty of the companies, subject to the control of the State, is to obtain the prior consent of the communities before setting up an enterprise, guarantee adequate conditions for its licensing, avoid social and environmental damage, pay taxes to the State for its social policies and fines for every violation provoked. And it is by doing this, and not suggesting another type of financing or partnership, that they will gain our recognition as responsible actors.
  • We recognize the importance of dialogue between Christian communities and mining companies. We are seeking that dialogue on a daily basis (often in vain) in the most diverse local conflict contexts, where communities denounce specific violations and present specific claims. It is there that the dialogue must begin; there the real disposition of the companies with the communities is measured. Pastoral agents do not need the training of mining companies to competently mediate this dialogue.
  • Financing initiatives in conjunction with theological seminaries seems to us a strategy to co-opt the church, use it to benefit the interests of the mining companies and divide it, weakening its role as “advocate for justice and defender of the poor” (Pope Francis: Speech to the communities of Rio de Janeiro in July 2013. The companies, instead of allocating money to repair all the damages reported by the communities, invest in propaganda projects or in activities that aim to financially support the leaders of social movements , unions or pastoral, with the obvious objective of reducing criticism not through change, but by co-opting whoever raised it.

We invite, then, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Episcopal Conferences, the Reformed sister churches, theologians, and Christian organizations committed to defending the communities affected by violations of socio-environmental rights. and to people of good will, to express with us their repudiation for another initiative of co-optation of the large mining companies. We will humbly and persistently continue our accompaniment to the communities: it is in them and for them, increasingly aware, protagonists and rooted in the defense of their territories, that the Kingdom of God is being built.

Churches and Mining, April 2015.

  • Ação Franciscana de Ecologia e Solidariedade - AFES -
  • World Latin American Agenda
  • Amerindia Colombia and Continental
  • Associação Eumênica de Teologos / as do Terceiro Mundo - ASETT -
  • Associação Madre Cabrini, Irmãs Missionárias do Sagrado Coração de Jesus - Brazil
  • Mennonite Association for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action -JUSTAPAZ-
  • Caritas of El Salvador, El Salvador
  • Caritas Jaén, Peru
  • Center for Ecology and Andean Peoples -CEPA- Oruro Bolivia
  • Center for Justice and Equity -CEJUE- Puno, Peru
  • Franciscan Center of Defesa dos Direitos, Brazil
  • Claretians San José del Sur, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile
  • Ecumenical Coalition for the Care of Creation, Chile.
  • Latin American Council of Churches - CLAI-
  • World Council of Churches, Climate Justice -WCC-
  • Conselho Indigenista Missionário -Brazil-
  • Continental Coordination of Base Ecclesial Communities
  • Comissão Verbita, JUPIC- Amazonia.
  • Committee in Defense of two Territories in front of Mineração, Brazil.
  • Communities Building Peace in the Territories - Faith and Politics -Conpaz- Colombia.
  • Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission -Colombia-
  • Comissão Pastoral da Terra -CPT- Brazil.
  • Christian Life Communities -CVX-
  • Base Ecclesial Communities, Sumaj Kausay Collective, Cajamarca, Argentina.
  • Continental Coordination of Base Ecclesial Communities.
  • National Coordinator of Human Rights, Peru.
  • CPT Diocese of Óbidos, Pará, Brazil.
  • Human Rights Without Borders, Peru.
  • Human Rights and Environment of Puno -DEHUMA-, Peru
  • Interchurch Dialogue for Peace in Colombia, DIPAZ, Colombia
  • Diocese of Copiapó- Alto del Carmen - Chile
  • Diocese of Itabira- Fabriciano Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Diocesan Directorate Cáritas de Choluteca, Honduras
  • Equipe de Articulação e Assessoria for Black Communities do Vale do Ribeira, EAACONE, Brazil.
  • Ecotheology Research Team, Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá.
  • National Aboriginal Pastoral Team, ENDEPA, Argentina.
  • Franciscans International.
  • Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Argentina.
  • Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriana de Chigüinto, Chile.
  • Irmãos da Misericórdia das Américas Juventude Franciscana do Brasil - YouFRA-
  • Justice, Peace and Integridade da Criação Verbitas - JUPIC SVD - Province BRN
  • Mercy International Association at the UN
  • Interreligious Ecotheological Table of Bogotá D.C. - MESETI -
  • Claretian Missionaries Central America and San José del Sur, Argentina
  • Comboni Missionaries, Brazil and Ecuador
  • Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens no Vale do Ribeira -MOAB- Brazil.
  • Observatory of Mining Conflicts of Latin America -OCMAL-
  • JPIC OFM Office, Rome.
  • JPIC Office San Columbano Missionary Society, Chile
  • Secular Franciscan Order, Uruguay
  • Organization of Families of Pasta de Conchos, Mexico
  • Child Care Pastoral, Bolivia
  • Indigenous Pastoral, Ecuador
  • Pastoral Indigenista de Roraima -Brazil-
  • Pastoral Social Cáritas Oruro, Bolivia
  • Pastoral Social Diocese of Duitama Sogamoso, Boyacá, Colombia
  • Pastoral Social Diocese of Pasto, Nariño, Colombia
  • Radio el Progreso Yoro-ERIC- Honduras
  • Popular Education Network of Latin America and the Caribbean of the Religious of the Sacred Heart
  • Rede de Solidariedade Missionárias Servas do Espírito Santo, Brazil
  • Red Muqui, Peru
  • Regional Water Development and Democracy Network, Piura, Peru
  • Diocesan Secretariat of Social Pastoral, Garzón Huila, Colombia
  • International Christian Solidarity Service Oscar Romero -Sicsal-
  • Inter-Franciscan Service of Justice, Peace and Ecology -SINFRAJUPE-, Brazil.
  • International Christian Solidarity Service with Latin America, Oscar Romero, -SICSAL-
  • Koinonia Services
  • Vicaría de la Solidaridad, Human Rights Office, Jaén, Peru.
  • Apostolic Vicariate San Francisco Javier, Jaén, Peru.
  • Vivat International.

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