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The Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) held its sessions on August 17-18 on the issue of transnational corporations and the rights of communities. 200 people participated, including affected communities from Southern Africa, organizers and jurors. Together they committed to strengthen the struggles and expose the atrocities perpetrated by transnational corporations that steal natural resources and violate the rights of the peoples of Southern Africa, states a press release issued by the participants.
The tribunal was organized by the Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and allowed eight countries of the region to make presentations about the impacts caused by the pressure exerted by transnational corporations.
During the sessions, seven cases were presented that exposed the "inhumane way under which the capital accumulation of TNCs has been destroying people’s livelihoods, the environment and the sovereignty of the countries in the region". The press release issued by the participants adds: "In most cases, corporate abuse includes infamous criminalization of resistance and protest, as was the case of Mozambican peasants and activists resisting ProSAVANA as well as the imprisonment of eight Tanzanian activists that fight against the extraction of uranium in Namtumbo district at the Mkuju River Project in the Ruvuma region".
The ProSavana program, for instance, has been the target of a study by organizations such as Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), for being one of the largest multilateral investment projects in Africa. This is a project promoted by the governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan, that grants 35 million hectares that are today in the hands of small Mozambican farmers to agribusiness. According to an article published in foodtank.com, these millions of fertile hectares of Mozambique will be turned into a mega soy plantation, whose grains will be exported to Japan to feed pigs.
The jury this year was made up by Mireille Fanon-Mendes, Chair of the Frantz Fanon Foundation, Nnimmo Bassey, former Chair of FoEI and member of ERA -FoE Nigeria, and Stefano Liberti, renowned Italian journalist and documentary producer.
According to the statement, Bassey said that the tribunal provides victims of TNCs and grassroots defenders "an excellent space to state their cases, expose impunity, and build connections and strategies with other activists and communities from other countries in the region. This will allow them to build a stronger platform of struggles to overturn the abuses perpetrated by those corporations”, said the former Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
In the same way, Anabela Lemos, member of the Climate Justice program of Friends of the Earth Mozambique, said that "exposing corporate crimes and giving visibility to the cases and resistance is part of the process of changing the system that allows corporations to grab and control resources and oppress people in impunity".
A participant from Tanzania, Flaviana Charles, added: “We denounce these abuses. No project should be developed at the expenses of people’s livelihoods and lives. This tribunal is an important step to call the attention of the international community and watch the cruel behavior of corporations”.
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