Columbans support Washington lobby to protect the Amazon
7th April 2017 - by Ellen Teague
A delegation of faith and indigenous leaders visited the United States in mid-March, to lobby for protection of the Amazon rainforest and the communities that live there.
It was under the auspices of REPAM, a transnational network of indigenous communities and Church organisations created to respond to the challenges facing the people of the Amazon and their natural environment.
Among the delegation was Fr Peter Hughes, a Columban who has worked for the Latin American bishops and for social and environmental justice throughout Latin America. He will be visiting Britain in July 2017 to speak to the annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network.
On 17 March, members of the delegation testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington. Then they went on to meet with key decision-makers and share their stories. The delegation was supported by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington.
While in the United States, the delegation shared the reality of communities in the Amazon, the ecological importance of the Amazon, and the urgency to answer the call in Laudato Si’ to care for creation and vulnerable communities. Throughout the Amazon, the lives of indigenous and campesino communities are threatened, and their communities displaced by extractive industries, like logging, oil and gas extraction, and dams. The threats include contaminated water, contaminated soil, and much more.
Despite the vital importance of the Amazon to the world and the indigenous communities that depend on its natural resources to survive, it is being destroyed at an alarming rate. REPAM is struggling to stop this destruction.
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
National Justice and Peace Network Conference, with speaker Fr Peter Hughes