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Ireland Step Up: Hold Irish companies to account for harming people and the planet abroad

Ireland Step Up: Hold Irish companies to account for harming people and the planet abroad

October 15 @ 6:30 pm 8:00 pm IST

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Front Line Defenders, Trócaire and Christian Aid discuss the campaign to hold Irish companies to account for harming people and the planet abroad, featuring case studies from Colombia and Chile.

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Speakers

Caroline O’Doherty – Environment Correspondent at the Irish Independent

Garry Walsh, Trócaire

Hannah Storey, Front Line Defenders

Rosa María Mateus Parra, Secretary of the Assembly and coordinator of the Work Axis Defense of the Territory and Fight against the Climate Crisis

Full Event Details

When we buy groceries, new clothes, use electricity or go about our day-to-day lives, we want to be sure that we’re not having a negative impact on others. Yet the operations of many corporations have a profound negative impact on people and the environment around the world. In this event, we’ll hear directly from human rights defenders about their experiences standing up to corporations and what we can do in Ireland to hold Irish companies to account for their impacts abroad.

This event aims to raise awareness and encourage action as part of the Irish Coalition on Business and Human Rights’ push for stronger regulation to stop corporate human rights abuses and environmental destruction. 

During the event, we’ll hear from representatives from the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (Cajar) in Columbia and the Defence Movement of Earth, Environmental Protection and Access to Water (MODATIMA) in Chile.

Cajar supports indigenous communities to peacefully resist the Cerrejon mine in Northern Columbia, which is the largest opencast coal mine in Latin America and is owned by three mining companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The mine has a long and well documented history of serious human rights abuses. In 2019, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination highlighted that Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has purchased coal from the Cerrejon mine.[1]

Members of MODATIMA have suffered death threats in response to their water rights activism. They have worked for years to draw public attention to the impact of water policies on rural communities in Chile’s central Petorca Province, an area that has been seriously impacted by water scarcity. Tesco and other supermarkets operating in the UK and Ireland, have been sourcing avocados from the region.[2]


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/17/chilean-villagers-claim-british-appetite-for-avocados-is-draining-region-dry

https://www.christianaid.ie/resources/undermining-human-rights-ireland-esb-and-cerrejon-coal

 

Speaker Biographies

Caroline O’Doherty

Caroline O’Doherty has been Environment Correspondent with the Irish Independent since 2019. She reports on a wide range of topics including climate change, conservation, the natural and built environment and where the two interact, and the energy and extractive industries. Prior to joining the Irish Independent, she had a roaming brief at home and abroad over three decades in journalism.

Rosa María Mateus Parra

Rosa María Mateus Parra is Secretary of the Assembly and is the coordinator of the Work Axis Defense of the Territory and Fight against the Climate Crisis. Rosa supports the work of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (Cajar) in Columbia.

Cajar supports indigenous communities to peacefully resist the Cerrejon mine in Northern Columbia, which is the largest opencast coal mine in Latin America and is owned by three mining companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The mine has a long and well documented history of serious human rights abuses. In 2019, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination highlighted that Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has purchased coal from the Cerrejon mine.[1] Rosa has supports and accompanies communities to defend their territories. She has direct experience of the risks human rights activists are face in this work.


[1] https://www.christianaid.ie/resources/undermining-human-rights-ireland-esb-and-cerrejon-coal

Garry Walsh

Garry Walsh leads Trócaire’s policy and advocacy work on Business & Human Rights. He has a keen interest in corporate accountability and advancing stronger regulations to end corporate human rights harms. Having worked on a range of campaign issues over two decades, he has extensive experience in advocacy, research, public campaigning, and communications. He has also managed human rights and development programmes in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He has previously overseen Trócaire’s Human Rights programmes in Myanmar and Palestine and worked with UNAIDS in Malawi. Garry is Trócaire’s Policy and Advocacy Advisor for Human Rights and Democratic Space.

Hannah Storey

Hannah Storey leads Front Line Defenders’ Business & Human Rights focused work. Hannah works with defenders working on business-related human rights abuses and is responsible for providing advocacy support to defenders at risk as well as conducting research and working on policy development relevant to defenders and business. She has a particular interest in development finance and the responsibilities of international finance institutions. Prior to joining the Front Line Defenders, Hannah was part of Forest Peoples Programme’s responsible finance team where she was closely involved in launching a global coalition focused on addressing abuses of defenders linked to global supply chains – The Zero Tolerance Initiative.

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