Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor.“Na Tagi ni Vanua”.BLACK SAND MINING PROJECT.
Extractive Industries Impacts on Bio Diversity on the River & Ocean- Sigatoka.
This workshop has brought together the communities along the Sigatoka river with their different faith groups to come, be informed, updated, empowered by our Catholic Social Teaching and the facts of this destructive project as the people of Votua, Ba are already experiencing. Also present is the Conservation Officer for the province based at Provincial office and landowners from upper Sigatoka river.
We have worked hard throughout this year with our teams and partners to bring to the attention of the Nadroga province and her people the importance of this issue. It has taken many zoom meetings, awareness, community visitations and 4 main workshops in Sigatoka, Lautoka and Ba to arrive at this stage. This is the first time St Joan of Arc has hosted this in collaboration with JPIC using the Season of Creation platform. There were about 40 participants including the Men’s ministry members who catered with the women of the parish.
Community Resource Mapping, Valuation and Protection Strategies
What are the Women and Mothers saying and Crying for??
SAY NO TO MINING
Men’s Planning group
Women putting in their perspective.
Youths putting forth their stand and their concerns.
Why is this issue so Important for us?
Environmental Justice is a Key Priority for our Columban Mission and Extraction is at the top of this list. Here in Fiji and around the pacific, extraction is a form of slavery as it robs the dignity of creation and man because of its brutal and unjust manner that does not respect the value of Life and Relationship. It is only carried out because there is money to be made and it enslaves the government through laws and policies that are made to favor only those companies and corporations that come to our land to take away its resources. Who bares the brunt of this undertaking?? Creation and the Local population who will live with the after - effects together with their children and their future.
This work is continuous and requires Partnership and Synodality
A man kneels to ask for support from his clansman and the people along the Sigatoka river to stand in solidarity for the protection of their Vanua here in Sigatoka.
Moving Forward into 2023
Shadow report is to be done by November and the Advocacy campaign for this is in progress while our experts from the Marine science department and Fiji Environmental law society will update us on the technicalities. Our association with Pacific Environmental Defenders and the UN office of the Commissioner for Human Rights are amplifying the voice of the Indigenous communities and Women.
I thank our partners at the Fiji Council of Social Services, Caritas Archdiocese of Suva, Jubilee Australia, Jubaniwai Conservation Foundation, Parish priest- St Joan of Arc and the Men’s Ministry, community reps from the villages, Conservation Office- Provincial Council and of course to the Columban Society for choosing Justice, Peace and Integrity of creation to be our Mission.
Vinaka Vakalevu – Tevita Naikasowalu