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The Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) on transnational corporations and the rights of the people and communities started its sessions on August 17 in Johannesburg, South Africa, believing that the current situation of defenselessness of communities with reference to the actions of transnational corporations requires other mechanisms that give way to justice.
Ilham Rawoot, the coordinator of said PPT was interviewed by Real World Radio through Vía Campesina Africa´s Boaventura Monjane.
At the tribunal, organized by the Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power, eight communities of the region will present their cases about the impacts of transnational corporations on their livelihoods, territories and human rights.
They will also offer testimonies on the financial consequences of the illicit financial flows coming from the continent, money that belongs to African peoples and that should be used to meet their basic needs. Land, Food and Agriculture are the key issues to be discussed at the Tribunal in 2017, which will focus on the impunity of transnational corporations and their role in the destruction of food sovereignty, land, and life, and on cases such as the stealing of seeds, land grabbing and physical degradation and sexual violence against women and communities, as well as diseases and environmental destruction.
During the interview, Ilham said that the PPT is a space where the communities present their cases of struggle against transnational corporations that affect their basic rights one way or the other.
The jurors of this PPT are Mireille Fanon-Mendes, Chair of Fundación Frantz Fanon, Nnimmo Bassey, former Chair of Friends of the Earth International and member of ERA-FoE Nigeria and Stefano Liberti, awarded Italian journalist and documentalist.
— Amandla! (@AmandlaMedia) August 17, 2017
Ilham is South African with vast experience on alternative popular communications. “This is a place where people can not only present their cases to other people from the region and jurors, but it is a way for them to share experiences (…) A safe space for them to mobilize and meet other people who are part of the same struggles”, said Ilham. In some cases, their struggles take place in isolated territories, so the PPT represents an opportunity to amplify this experience and stop the dominant impunity, said the coordinator of the Tribunal.
“The tribunal is about facilitating a space where communities who are struggling can create a stronger struggle”, Ilham Rawoot, Coordinator of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal in session in South Africa
About the reasons to hold this session of the PPT in South Africa, Ilham said that this is the first time this happens and it is because it is a continuity of the processes that took place in Swaziland in 2016, focused on mining and energy extractivism, while in South Africa the focus is on food sovereignty as an alternative to agribusiness.
The cases that will be discussed this year are related to the role of women in agriculture, agricultural subsidies, and the presence of Monsanto or Parmalat in some regions, which have been very detrimental for rural economies, said Ilham (whose Twitter account is @ilhamsta).
The PPT in South Africa will also include discussions related to the building of a Binding Treaty on human rights and transnational companies, a campaign that gathers hundreds of organizations and several governments in the framework of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“Las mujeres somos quienes mantenemos la esperanza. Y creo que en ese mantener la esperanza tenemos que contagiar a muchas otras mujeres y decirles que se atrevan, que salgan, que levanten la voz, que no les dé miedo hablar. (…) Hay miedos que se nos han creado a las mujeres dentro de nuestros entornos sociales y culturales. (…) Cargamos la manta del miedo en un momento que nos llega, pero luego nos quitamos la manta del miedo, y seguimos con la manta de la esperanza”. Jakeline Romero Epiayu.
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