“With the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ we are defending the rights to the land, territory, and forests”
A Latin American meeting will be held with the participation of Indigenous representatives and local communities
Representatives of Indigenous and local communities from Latin America will assemble in San Cristobal de las Casas (Chiapas, Mexico), within the framework of Pope Francisco’s visit, to discuss the encyclical “Laudato Si” which calls to seek alternatives to the ecological crisis we all are facing.
January 20th, 2016.
Indigenous people, local communities, and groups involved in social processes representing 15 countries in Mesoamerica and the Amazon will meet in San Cristobal de Las Casas (Chiapas, Mexico), in the context of the Pope Francisco’s visit to this town, to talk about the content of the encyclical “Laudato Si” and to send a message to the world regarding the invaluable contribution made by the people and communities to protect nature through the defence of territories, biodiversity, ecosystems, and cultural diversity.
This meeting titled “With the encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ we are defending the rights to the land, territory, and forests”, will be held on February 13th and 14th, considering that the Pope’s visit will be developing on Monday, February 15th. This encounter will be organized by the Human Rights Centre Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Frayba), the Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests (AMPB), the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and the Mexican Network of Forest Peasant Organization (Red MOCAF).
Through the Encyclical “Laudato Si” Pope Francis has called to the union of the whole human family in the search for a sustainable and comprehensive development against an ecological crisis of our common home: planet Earth, where the strength of the proposals of modernity turn against us. Undoubtedly, one of the most visible expressions of this crisis is climate change. In the context of the global ecological crisis, the protection of rainforest is part of the core solution.
The Amazon Basin and Mesoamerica represent approximately 45 % of tropical forests worldwide; the Lacandona jungle, located in Chiapas, is the centre of highest biodiversity in the tropics of North and Central America. There is a growing amount of scientific evidence demonstrating the clear match between areas of tropical forests -and its conservancy- and territorial presence of ancestral indigenous people and local communities.
On the other hand, the preservation of tropical forests is considered the main strategy to address climate change. Indigenous people are being successful in protecting the forests through their traditional practices despite the many pressures that represent the global development and the voracious consumer appetite which drives the expansion of mining projects, hydroelectric dams, roads crossing the jungle, and monocultures among many other threats that negatively impact territories and ecosystems.
Justified as progress, these pressures are easily supported by irresponsible public policy or the impunity that almost always goes hand in hand with corruption. Also becoming more frequent are the use of violence, the murder of indigenous and community leaders, and the criminalization of actions implemented by the territories in defence of life.
For the organizations calling to this rendezvous, the Papal Encyclical is a precious moral and political contribution, in which can be found new arguments in the struggle for the protection of their territories and the life they host. Indigenous people and local communities expect the papal message to gradually spread worldwide, accomplishing with this that even more people gain awareness about the impact of our actions on nature and life itself.
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