International activists challenge corporate crimes in Melbourne

From 12th to 14th November, international activists will converge at Trades Hall in Melbourne to call for an end to the power of huge companies to exploit people and our planet.

“We will be building alliances and global resistance against the actions of Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, Fonterra, Chiquita Brands International, Monsanto, Drummond, BP” said Rebecca Harrison from the Latin American Solidarity Network. “To protect the rights of workers, indigenous peoples and the environment we need to hold corporations accountable for their exploitative practices,” added Ms Harrison.

International representatives from grass roots organisations from New Zealand, West Papua, El Salvador, Bougainville, Philippines, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia, as well as Australian indigenous and union representatives will be speaking at the gathering.

“Monsanto controls 80% of Brazil’s seed market”, says Paola Masiero from the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil, who represent an estimated 1.5 million members. “Its promotion of genetically modified crops impacts the environment, cost of living and undermines food sovereignty through the creation of a monopoly and the destruction of biodiversity.”

“Multinational corporations such as Coca Cola, Nestle, BHP Billiton and Kraft are benefiting from deteriorating working conditions and paramilitary violence in Colombia,” says Fredy Sepulveda from SINALTRAINAL, the Colombian Food and Agro-Industry Workers Union. “This repression of labour struggles has resulted in the murder of more than 3000 trade unionists in the last 20 years and 38 in the year 2010.”

The conference will examine corporate support or complicity with the exploitation of the poor of the world, the increasing undermining of workers’ rights and union-busting, the displacement and forced assimilation of Indigenous communities, and the destruction of our natural resources and environment.

Other speakers attending the Gathering include:

• Jaime Deluquez from the Miners Coal Workers Union and Colombia Cut in Colombia.
• Wilman Palmezano from the Wayuu Indigenous Community in Colombia.
• Miguel Suarez from the Mining Workers Federation in Chile.
• Manuel Morales, a Bolivian factory workers representative.
• Juan Contreras, Coordinator of Simon Bolivar in Venezuela.
• Santiago Punina from the CONAIE Indigenous National Council in Ecuador.
• Claudio Tranamil Ñanco from the Mapuche indigenous community in Chile.
• Cristina Fermovich, from Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in the Philippines.
• Clive Porabou, a representative of communities in Bougainville resisting Rio Tinto.
• Barbara Shaw, a spokesperson for The Intervention Rollback Action Group.
• Uncle Larry Walsh, Tauwurrung Elder, Kulin Nation.
• Robbie Thorpe, Krautungalung people of the Gunnai Nation.
• Uncle Chappi, Aboriginal leader from the Lake Cowal campaign.
• Uncle Kevin, Aboriginal leader from the anti-BHP Billiton campaign.


A press conference will be held at 5.30 pm on Friday 12th November in the New Chambers Council in Trades Hall. Interviews, including with Miguel Suarez from the Chilean Mining Workers Federation, will be available. Please contact: Marisol Salinas 0413 597 315 or Rebecca Harrison 0439 503 839.

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