2013 Saturday Lunch Plenary: Land and Food Justice: Managing Our Natural Resources to End Hunger and Achieve Justice Around the World
Today, nearly 900 million people in the world are not able to claim their right to food. Far too often, rural communities and indigenous peoples in the Americas, Africa and elsewhere are being challenged by powerful corporations who seek profit from the exploitation of their lands, water and non-renewable resources hidden underneath their soil. How do the local, national and global challenges connect? How are communities, activists and advocates responding? Panelists from Central America and West Africa will speak to the struggles in their countries to defend communities’ rights to land and water and to secure healthy food and a life with dignity for their families.
Sandra Carolina Ascencio, Pastoral Agent, Justice Office of Peace and Integrity of the Creation Order of Young Friars
Sandra Carolina Ascencio is from El Salvador. She is an advocate in the areas of health, human rights, and ecology for Salvadoran individuals and communities. She studied biology at the University of El Salvador, is certified in environmental education and eco-systemic crisis, and has training in legal education and climate change risk management. Ascencio is on the Commission of Human Rights at the Queen of Peace Parish in Soyapango, El Salvador, accompanying persons in need of legal aid and therapy. She also supports the Franciscan Commission of Justice, Peace and Ecology in planning and implementing workshops for new environmental educators from 21 parishes. Ascencio serves as a pastoral agent with the Justice Office of Peace and Integrity of the Creation Order of Young Friars, educating parish communities on working with La Mesa and the Permanent Bureau for Risk Management.
Laura Hurtado, Coordinator of Campaigns and Advocacy, Oxfam Guatemala
Laura Hurtado is the Coordinator of Campaigns and Advocacy for Oxfam in Guatemala. She has experience in the design and coordination of social research programs on issues related to indigenous peoples, agrarian dynamics, peasant economies, lands, territorial development, decentralization and food security. Hurtado has studied extensively, earning her doctorate in Social Sciences from the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Guatemala, a master’s degree in Development from the University of the Valley of Guatemala, and a Sociology degree from the University of Paris VIII in France. She has worked for ActionAid Guatemala, and has been a consultant for Rights and Resources Initiative, Mercy Corps, Catholic Relief Service, and many other institutions and organizations. She was advisor for the resettlement of the displaced people during the armed conflict.
Augustine Niber, Executive Director, Center for Public Interest Law
Augustine Niber is the Executive Director of the Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), a not-for-profit public interest and human rights non-governmental organization (NGO), which was established in 1999 with the aim of making justice accessible to the poor and marginalized individuals and communities in Ghana. The Mining Communities Human Rights and Legal Support Program, one of CEPIL’s key initiatives, is designed to achieve the broad objective of public and private accountability, and more specifically, the protection of communities’ rights that are affected by large corporate mining in Ghana. Under this programme, CEPIL has provided free legal (Pro bono) services including court room representation to communities negatively impacted by mining companies in Ghana. CEPIL has won or successfully settled out of court for several of the cases brought on behalf of mining communities. The cases have resulted in the payment of enhanced compensation packages to these communities for the violation of their fundamental human rights, such as, the destruction of their farm lands, houses and livelihood. CEPIL also provides legal literacy, human rights education, and training to these communities to enable them to exercise their voices and demand their rights.
Moderator: Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy and Research, Oxfam America
Gawain Kripke is the Director of Policy and Research at Oxfam America, and has more than 20 years of experience working on public policy and advocacy issues. His department conducts research and policy advocacy, focusing on the effectiveness of foreign aid and development, climate change, trade and agriculture, humanitarian issues, and extractive industries. Kripke is a frequent commentator on foreign aid, human rights, humanitarian issues, and agricultural policies in major news media, including The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, BBC World News and Marketplace. In addition, he has testified before Congressional committees. At Oxfam, Kripke previously served as Senior Policy Advisor on Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, which aims to reform unfair trade rules so that international trade can become a powerful force for reducing global poverty. Before to joining Oxfam, he served as Director of Economic Programs for the environmental organization Friends of the Earth. Kripke earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard College, and has authored numerous opinion pieces and briefing papers on trade and development issues.