THE SPEAKERS

INTRODUCTIONS TO THE SPEAKERS:

Ashok Subron, programme coordinator, CARES, Mauritius

Activist since the 70's in Left politics. Co-Founder in 2005, and Spokesperson of Rezistans ek Alternativ - Red-Green Eco-Socialist - political movement of Mauritius, known for articulating labour, social and ecological struggles and the 'de-ethnicisation' of politics in Mauritius.
Well known trade unionist, active in General Workers Federation, and at international level, as ILO Consultant for Trade Union Education. Active in the last 7 years in anti-Ocean Grabbing and Beach grabbing movement, as well as the campaign for renewable solar energy - powershift. Presently, Programme Coordinator of the Center Alternative Research and Studies (CARES), responsible of the Annual Indian Ocean and Southern Africa International School of Ecology. Was Awarded Most Outstanding Mauritian of the Year title in 2012-2013 by various mainstream media of the country - as well as arrested several times by police in relation to activism!
 
Judy Pasimio, coordinator, LILAK – Purple Action for indigenous women’s rights, Philippines
Judith Pamela A. Pasimio is a women’s and human rights advocate from the Philippines. She works as the coordinator of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), an organisation whose goal is to provide different spaces and platforms for rural and indigenous women to think and talk; to further their rights and to profile their voices, actions, struggles and visions at national and international level. Judy has fought for years, for land rights, women’s access to natural resources, the right to self-determination and indigenous rights.
She has worked to organise regional gatherings for indigenous women, to embolden them to have policy dialogues in the provinces. LILAK works to disseminate knowledge of laws, legislation and human rights in ways that indigenous people understand - something which exploiting corporations makes sure to make as inaccessible and hard to understand as possible.
In an interview with Women’s Advancement Deeply, Judy said of her and LILAK’s work: “It’s really assertion of your rights. Assertion of your right to say no. A lot of communities don’t realize that they actually can say no. That’s one of the first things we really need to impress upon people – that you have the right to say no."

Mariana Gomez, coordinator, Yes to life, no to mining Latin America, Colombia
Mariana Gomez Soto is an anthropologist and activist from Colombia. Mariana grew up in Doima, Colombia, which lies in an area rich in water and crops. Marianas activism started with the fight against Anglo Gold Ashanti, who planned to build tailings dam in Doima and process ore from a nearby goldmine, despite the communities vocal rejection of these plans. The resistance in the community began in 2012 and has since lead to a local referendum and a large movement. This has been successful in keeping Anglo Gold Ashanti from the area, despite the Colombian government being decidedly pro-mining.
Since this, Mariana has been engaged in activism and has been involved in organising popular consultations across Colombia.
Mariana is an advocate for the many sustainable alternatives to mining and extractivism, by creating and strengthening eco-tourism, local food production and the like. She now works as the coordinator for Latin America for the Yes To Life, No To Mining Network, where she works to support and connect grass-roots movements in defence of territory. A recent huge success for the network has been the result of a 10-year nonviolent campaign against Anglo Gold Ashanti in the town Cajamarca. In a referendum in 2017, 97,9% of the majority voted against a colossal goal mine. Mariana has been involved in the work of building alternatives rooted in the territory and its treasures: natural beauty and small-scale agriculture.
 
Nazha El Khalidi, activist, from the occupied territories in Western Sahara
Naziha El Khalidi is a media activist, who was born and raised in El-Aaiún, a city in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.
In Western Sahara - the last colony of Africa, which has been occupied by Morocco since 1975 - independent journalism is not allowed by the occupiers. Naziha uses her work to document the violations of human rights that happen in the occupied territories. Here, Sahrawi demonstrants, are demanding their right to self-determination, are attacked by Moroccan forces - even though the Sahrawis rights to self determination is recognised in all UN resolutions. Documenting these demonstrations and attacks is a huge risk, and yet Naziha does it.
In August of 2016, Naziha was detained and held in custody by the Moroccan police force, after attending a protest and recording the attacks by Moroccan police towards the Sahrawi protestors. She was violently abused and questioned at the Moroccan police headquarters in El-Aaiún, with the hopes to threaten her into stopping her media activism - but unsuccessfully. Naziha continues to fight Sahrawi independence, as she works to let the public know what the Moroccan government hopes to cover up.
 
Samir Eskanda, activist and musician, Boykott, Disvestment, Sanctions Campaign, Palestine

Samir Eskanda is a British Palestinian musician, and an activist in the Boykott, Disvestment, Sanctions (BDS) Campaign. The purpose of the BDS campaign is to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice, through pressuring Western governments to take a stance and impose sanctions as a consequence of the Israeli States colonisation, illegal settlement and military aggression.
Samir has made a case for the boykott of a number of world-renowned musicians who have performed in Tel-Aviv, Israel or similarly shown support for the Israeli state, whose occupation forces violently and consistently assaults the people of the besieged Gaza strip. In a piece written for “The Quietus”, Samir argues that “Israel deliberately undermines Palestinian cultural expression while marketing its own cultural output worldwide, thus attempting to cast a veil over its violations of human rights and international law (...) Perhaps the most important reason to boycott is because the call itself comes from Palestinian civil society, not political or religious factions, but from federations of unions and other organisations representing ordinary people from virtually every walk of life, including teachers, farmers, writers, students, dentists, filmmakers, engineers, dancers, journalists, professors and musicians. It is the broadest possible expression of the will of a civilian population, based on universal principles of human rights, in the attempt to end decades of occupation, colonisation and structural discrimination.”

Daniel Ribeiro, program and research officer and activist, Justiça Ambiental - Friends of the Earth, Mozambique

Daniel Ribeiro is a Mozambican biologist, researcher and environmental activist for more than 20 years. Ribeiro has produced various articles on the topic of energy, oil, dams, forests and many more.

Ribeiro is a founder member of JA! (Justiça Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique) and is the Programs and Research Officer. JA! is an organization that focuses on environmental justice as the act of using the environment as a vehicle for ensuring equity and equality across society. Their mission is to engender a culture of civil action in Mozambique both through actions to protect the environment and by actively engaging in developmental decisions relating to issues of environmental justice in Mozambique and throughout the world. They are committed to free rivers and clean water for all, environmental law and policy monitoring, promotion of renewable energies and a toxic free environment.

JA! is currently fighting against the US company Anadarko, the Italien company ENI, the Dutch company Shell and others in their extraction of gas in Cabo Delgado, which has already caused displacement among the many communities in the area and will destroy the ecosystem and highly affect the climate.


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