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Summer Position Available – Campus Green Spaces Coordinator

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group – University of Ottawa (OPIRG) is seeking one employee to work 30 hours per week. OPIRG’s Campus Green Spaces Coordinator contract begins June 1st 2016 and ends July 27th 2016. OPIRG is a bilingual, student-funded and student directed volunteer organization dedicated to research, education and advocacy in the areas of social, environmental, and economic justice.

 

Background on the project:

This year we engaged really closely with the Community Garden, the learning garden and the pollinators’ garden to understand they way they work and learn what their needs are. There are two types of community-based gardens at the University of Ottawa: the learning gardens and community allotment gardens. Established as an OPIRG action group in 2014, the learning gardens are plots of land that are accessible to most students and staff who are willing to take part in growing a variety of fruits, vegetables and pollinator plants. Gardening events and workshops are typically held throughout the season, providing learning opportunities to all willing participants. Pollinators’ gardens are essential to introduce the basics of gardening and food systems to novice students. These types of gardens can be almost any size and can use a wide variety of plants including flowers, shrubs and trees. Additionally, pollinator gardens are easier to establish and maintain than vegetable gardens, and can be supportive of future vegetable or butterfly gardens. Best of all, pollinator gardens benefit the ecosystem.

The University of Ottawa gardens currently offer the opportunity for gardening experience in spaces that contribute to the benefit of both our campus communities and wildlife. The experience and aspects of learning are accompanied by horizontal modes of organization that govern these spaces in multiple ways relative to the garden’s purpose.

 

Duties:                                                                      

The Community Garden Coordinator will

  • organize the working parties,
  • recruit volunteers for the learning garden
  • organize training opportunities for all green spaces
  • organize work schedules for volunteers
  • coordinate work with other organizations around campus.

Requirements:

This is a position funded by the Canada Summer Student Program.

All job applicants must be:

  • between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) at the start of employment;
  • a full-time student during the preceding academic year;
  • returning to school on a full-time basis during the next academic year;
  • a student in a secondary, post-secondary, CEGEP (Quebec only), vocational or technical program
  • a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act*; and
  • legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial / territorial legislation and regulations.

*Foreign students are not eligible.

 

Qualifications:

  • Able to communicate, orally and in writing, in both English and French
  • Strong organizing, coordination skills and experience
  • Demonstrate initiative and teamwork skills
  • Some gardening or landscaping experience
  • General computer skills
  • Knowledge of anti-oppression concepts
  • Some knowledge of consensus based decision-making
  • Personable attitude
  • Capacity to work under stressful conditions, as well as delegate and prioritize tasks
  • Experience in planning events, particularly on-campus and neighbourhood-level events; and
  • Experience managing groups and coordinating volunteers

Assets:

  • Strong writing skills in both English and French
  • Experience in social, economic, and/or environmental justice organizing, especially within a anti-oppressive framework

 

Salary: $12/hr (30 hours a week, for 8 weeks)

OPIRG welcomes the contributions that individuals from marginalized communities bring to our organization, and invites aboriginal people, people of colour, women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, queer-oriented people, single parents, members of ethnic minorities, immigrants and people with disabilities to apply. We encourage applicants to describe the contributions and experiences they, as individuals who identify with marginalized communities, would bring to the OPIRG organization in their cover letter.

 

Applicants who wish to be considered for employment equity should mention this in their cover letter.

All applicants are asked to include a brief statement on their understanding of power and oppression in our society, as it relates to yourself, and the work environment.

Only those invited for an interview will be contacted. Interviews will be conducted the week following the deadline for resumes.

DEADLINE for applications: Wednesday, May 25th 2016 at 5:00p.m. The proposed start date is June 1st, 2016.

 

Please submit ALL of the following documents to be considered as a candidate:

1) resume;

2) cover letter explaining how you meet each of the qualifications; and

3) a 3-4 paragraph statement explaining your understanding of power and oppression in our society, as it relates to yourself and the work environment, as well as OPIRG.

 

Send the documents to:

Hiring Committee – OPIRG

OPIRG/GRIPO-University of Ottawa 

85 University Private 215 D University Centre 

Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5

E-mail (PDFs only please) to: opirgresearch@gmail.com

Two Summer Positions Available – Community Outreach Coordinator

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group – University of Ottawa (OPIRG) is seeking two employees to work 30 hours per week. OPIRG’s Community Outreach Coordinator (2 positions available) contract begins June 4th 2016 and ends July 27th 2016. OPIRG is a bilingual, student-funded and student directed volunteer organization dedicated to research, education and advocacy in the areas of social, environmental, and economic justice.

Background on the project:

The Healthy Transportation Coalition wants to ensure that improvements are made to the transportation system in Ottawa to make it healthier, so that low-income earners are well-served and transportation choices minimize or completely eliminate environmental impacts. All residents of the national capital region should be able to access a healthy transportation network that prioritizes walking, cycling, other modes of active transportation, and public transportation. Improvements should be thought through from social, public health, environmental, and financial perspectives.

The goal of this project is to determine whether or not vulnerable populations are well-served by a healthy transportation network of sidewalks, walking paths, multi-use paths, bike lanes and public transportation in Ottawa, and what improvements are needed in policies, infrastructure, access and affordability. Ultimately, we want to make the City of Ottawa a better place for people who walk, bike and/or ride public transit.

Duties:                                                                      

The Community Outreach Coordinators will

  • participate in summer festivals and community meetings,
  • perform community organizing tasks
    • perform a door-to-door survey,
    • organize meetings to engage with people in their neighbourhoods,
    • organize the support needed to deliver pop-up projects (including a cargo bike-sharing program),
  • carry out other activities, such as, preparing workshops and training.
  • Report on objectives achieved and accomplishment of goals associated with the project as well as carry out other activities, as necessary.

Requirements:

This is a position funded by the Canada Summer Student Program.

All job applicants must be:

  • between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) at the start of employment;
  • a full-time student during the preceding academic year;
  • returning to school on a full-time basis during the next academic year;
  • a student in a secondary, post-secondary, CEGEP (Quebec only), vocational or technical program
  • a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act*; and
  • legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial / territorial legislation and regulations.

*Foreign students are not eligible.

Qualifications:

  • Able to communicate, orally and in writing, in both English and French
  • Strong organizing, coordination skills and experience
  • Demonstrate initiative and teamwork skills
  • General computer skills
  • Knowledge of anti-oppression concepts
  • Some knowledge of consensus based decision-making
  • Personable attitude
  • Capacity to work under stressful conditions, as well as delegate and prioritize tasks
  • Experience in planning events, particularly on-campus and neighbourhood-level events; and
  • Experience managing groups and coordinating volunteers

Assets:

  • Strong writing skills in both English and French
  • A third language, such as Arabic and/or Somali, will be an asset
  • Experience in social, economic, and/or environmental justice organizing, especially within a anti-oppressive framework

Salary: $12/hr (30 hours a week, for 8 weeks)

OPIRG welcomes the contributions that individuals from marginalized communities bring to our organization, and invites aboriginal people, people of colour, women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, queer-oriented people, single parents, members of ethnic minorities, immigrants and people with disabilities to apply. We encourage applicants to describe the contributions and experiences they, as individuals who identify with marginalized communities, would bring to the OPIRG organization in their cover letter.

Applicants who wish to be considered for employment equity should mention this in their cover letter.

All applicants are asked to include a brief statement on their understanding of power and oppression in our society, as it relates to yourself, and the work environment.

Only those invited for an interview will be contacted. Interviews will be conducted the week following the deadline for resumes.

 

DEADLINE for applications: Wednesday, May 25th 2016 at 5:00p.m. The proposed start date is June 1st, 2016.

 

Please submit ALL of the following documents to be considered as a candidate:

1) resume;

2) cover letter explaining how you meet each of the qualifications; and

3) a 3-4 paragraph statement explaining your understanding of power and oppression in our society, as it relates to yourself and the work environment, as well as OPIRG.

 

Send the documents to:

Hiring Committee – OPIRG

OPIRG/GRIPO-University of Ottawa 

85 University Private 215 D University Centre 

Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5

E-mail (PDFs only please) to: opirgresearch@gmail.com

 

Solidarity with Montréal-Nord and Lac-Simon

The recent police killings of Jean-Pierre Bony in Montreal and Sandy Michel in Lac-Simon reservation in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region have put the spotlight once again on the struggle for justice against police impunity. The resulting indignation led to outbursts of anger in Montreal-North, where the population damaged a police station and a bank outlet in retaliation.

 

In the same spirit as our declaration of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter tent city in Toronto, OPIRG would like to express its support to the movement of rebellion against police brutality that is emerging in Québec. In Canada as much as the United States, police impunity, tied to systematic racism and the colonial system, doesn’t stop destroying lives, and so we salute the emergence of a wide movement to bring an end to this injustice.

 

Communities such as Montreal-North and Lac-Simon are unfortunately too often the target of such violence. In ghettoized urban communities, young racialized people are targeted by police and systematically treated like potential criminals. This discrimination leads to their over-representation in police killings and the jail system. In Indigenous reservations like Lac-Simon, the populations still dealing with the traumatic effects of colonialism and systematic impoverishment, are left to themselves, with no social services available to support them, under than a police force that acts as an occupation army.

 

OPIRG exists to offer resources to movements that struggle for justice. We have among other things helped recently to provide transportation for rally in Maniwaki in support of the family of Brandon Maurice, a 17-year old who was killed by the Sûreté de Québec last November. We encourage people organizing for justice for victims of police brutality to reach out to us with proposals at opirgripo.board@gmail.com.

OPIRG Board Candidates’ Platforms

The platforms for each candidate will be added as soon as they are made available.

Golbon Moltaji

My name is Golbon Moltaji, I am a third year PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa. My research explores Contradictions of Capitalism (Harvey, 2014) in labor-oriented political economy of migration. I am with the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) and I am running for OPIRG’s board of directors. Below you can find my proposed platform:

1 – OPIRG to Adopt SFUO’s Shortage of Services: OPIRG should identify the recent reduction of staff and services at SFUO as an opportunity to adopt these services and demand taking over the conduct of 101 week. OPIRG should elevate its agency in order to achieve better recognition on campus and among all students. This will enable OPIRG to encourage and integrate its activist capacity at UOttawa (and beyond).

2 – Bring Back Marxism: Neoliberal regimes’ xenophobic propaganda appears to have succeeded to develop a fictitious association between Marxist analysis of economy and the totalitarian regimes’ demonstration of dictatorship. This seems to have evolved into a subtle institutional dismissal of the accuracy of the theory’s projections. My goal is to encourage employing Marxist analysis as a basis for improving quality of research on human condition. This will help critical analysis of the systematic capitalist complications through a variety of practices as follows:

  1. Objective Criticism of Academic Institutions: OPIRG’s research activities should illustrate on how employing neoliberal frame work perpetuates the socio-political issues that the education system is presumed to dissect and decolonize. My goal is to decode and unpack the pragmatic implications of capitalism, imperialism and colonialism as they pertain to the large scale practices of Western education. As well, to make these notions broadly accessible to students through workshops and OPIRG research activities.
  2. Increasing OPIRG’s Outreach through Publications: Emphasize on the value of storytelling and writing, the power of words – as well other forms of inquiry. Encourage volunteers, board members and the public to compose their reflections on their interactions with capitalist society and submit on a regular basis. My goal is to create an editorial-style OPIRG monthly publication.

3 – Expand Artistic Collaborations: Emphasis on the arts as a universal form for anti-oppressive inquiry and that it should be employed more broadly and more often in all OPIRG`s activities. My goal is to educate on the pre-existing structures (such as indigenous and old civilizations) in order to reintroduce communal spaces and artistic creativity as well to criticize and resist inhuman urbanization. I will propose incorporating public arts in OPIRG’s mandate at any appropriate occasions.

 

Jacqueline Boulding, Danik Dozet & Patrick Brunet (RSM platform)

My name is Jacqueline Boulding, I am an MA student in my first year in Philosophy with a specialization in Women’s Studies. I also did my undergraduate degree at the university and have been a member of the RSM since 2011 and have served on the central committee for the past year. I am committed to making the university a safe space for gender-oppressed people to get an education, and to maintaining a dialogue between activist and academic knowledges.

My name is Danik Dozet, student about to graduate from a bachelor’s of Science going back in for a second round of school next year in Education. I’ve been a member of the Revolutionary Student Movement since it was called the Marxist Student Association and have served on its central committee for the last 3 years. I am dedicated to combatting the pervasive neoliberal ideology and building a strong socialist movement capable of radical change!

I am Patrick Brunet, a student completing a BA in political science and philosophy that will be returning for an MA. I have been a member of the Revolutionary Student Movement for two years. My goal is to help build student activism and the university as a site for the struggle against capitalism, imperialism and colonialism.

 

Politics first!

We will guarantee that OPIRG will remain loyal to its anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist politics. Unity around anti-capitalist politics should be the base of OPIRG’s around which it works with other groups on campus.

We remain dedicated to to fighting oppression and fighting for equality. This includes fighting the manifestations of inequality as well as its root causes. These struggles against all forms of oppression are an integral part of the fight against capitalism.

We are in favor of an education system that is scientific and proletarian in nature that puts the needs of people before profit. We look to build an independent leftist force on campus, free of the bureaucracy of the SFUO and CFS. We are greatly in favor of building direct democracy on campus through the development of general assemblies within the SFUO federated bodies.

Building the left!

OPIRG should serve as a networking and resource center for progressive forces with social justice as its goals. We will use OPIRG’s resources to support the broad left on campus, including:

-Better networking opportunities for action groups
-More spaces for action groups, community members and the resource center
-Maintain OPIRG’s organizational autonomy
-Continue to oppose misogynist, racist and right wing groups on campus

Outreach!

Reaching out and organizing the community should be the focus of OPIRG’s work. It should be the center at which students and community members can get in contact with progressive groups in their area. We want to hold a series of events during Alt 101 week that will be hosted by the different action groups as well as our annual anticapitalist hip-hop concert. We will make sure all OPIRG resources and media will be available in at least the two official languages. We will develop a comprehensive promotion strategy to increase visibility for OPIRG, its action groups and resources.

Be sure to go out and vote for the Revolutionary Student Movement candidates for the OPIRG board of administration on April 4th!

 

Nicole Sudiacal

Hello all! My name is Nicole Sudiacal and I am currently in the second year of my undergraduate degree in Human Rights and Conflict Studies with a minor in Sociology. I am deeply passionate about community organizing and am running for a position on the OPIRG Board of Directors at the University of Ottawa. Off campus, I have been the leader of the Ethnocultural Youth Advisory Committee of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa for two years. This position has allowed me to have a comprehensive understanding of the barriers that newcomer, refugee, racialized and other marginalized youth face in Ottawa.

If I were to be elected as an OPIRG-Ottawa Board member, I would focus on

  • Community outreach: I would aim to bridge gaps that exist between on-campus organizations and the larger Ottawa community that we serve. Through linking social services organizations in Ottawa to the initiatives and resources that are offered by OPIRG and the action groups, I hope to facilitate a widened and deepened impact, both on and off campus through proposed meet and greets, shared events and increased communication and sharing of connections, thus strengthening the entirety of the community.
  • Political Framework: I will commit my politics to accountability and transparency. Through the lens of intersectionality, decolonization, and anti-oppression, I will work to ensure that OPIRG’s initiatives, research, and resources, will continue to be accessible to all students, but also to all community members. I hope to share liberating theories such anti-oppression practices, indigenous sovereignty, anti-capitalist and disability justice off and on-campus, with the resource center, OPIRG weeks, the OPIRG zine and other programming in collaboration with students, action groups, social services organization and the general public.

 

R.J. Pate

Hey folks! My name is ​R.J. Pate​ and I am running for a position of the OPIRG-GRIPO Board of Directors. An Ottawa born and raised, as an active community organizer I understand the necessity of  intersectional liberation through campus and community organizing. Working within rad racialized, feminist, and LGBTQIA+ settings, I understand what it takes to bring together a community in Ottawa with student participation interest.

If elected to the Board of Directors, I will focus on the following:
-Increasing the visibility of student events​, initiatives, and services on and off campus; I will work to create an active liaison between students and their campus service centres and the services available to them outside of the federation, such as OPIRG­GRIPO. I also intend to create an active community liaison between community services available to students off campus.
-Inclusionary and intersectional spaces​; I will work to ensure OPIRG-GRIPO maintains inclusionary and intersectional spaces in terms of race, language, class, accessibility, and anything in between. Ensuring that OPIRG­GRIPO works through an anti­white supremacist and anti­capitalist lense.
-Equity within staff and Board of Directors​; Obtaining and maintaining proper equity within staff and Board of Directors positions in ensuring student and community voices are represented by OPIRG­GRIPO on all levels of oppression.
-Creating a more transparent hiring process​; Creating a hiring process that is based on experience and knowledge, rather than formal education and who you know.

 

Tabitha Mirza

Hello, my name is Tabitha Mirza and I am a 2nd year student in the International Development and Globalization program. My involvement includes being VP Equity and Activism for the Development Student Association, and being a volunteer at the Women’s Resource Centre.

Having worked and been involved in many feminist, environmental, and community based spheres, I have a thoughtful understanding of the work I propose to enrich the OPIRG-GRIPO Board with the following:

  1. Mobilizing and networking for greater student, community, and federated body interconnectivity and centralization
  2. Guided by decolonization & intersectional and transnational feminisms, maintain and uphold anti-colonialist, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist sentiment, and similarly, always work for Indigenous, grassroots, and community led initiatives
  3. Maintaining equity, transparency, and accountability throughout OPRG-GRIPO functions

Solidarity with BLMTO

OPIRG-GRIPO uOttawa stands in solidarity and offers its support to Black Lives Matter Toronto Tent City (#BLMTO #tentcity). For over a week now, a movement led by Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition have been organizing protests and a tent city outside the Toronto Police headquarters. Despite facing police repression, including a violent clearing of the camp on the second night, the movement is holding on and gaining more support. Its official demands are featured on the image below.

 

The movement coalesced around the issues of police anti-black violence as well as the appreciation of black culture. In this case, the lack of accountability in regards to the extremely violent police killings of Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby catalyzed a movement already inspired by the rebellions of Ferguson and Baltimore in the US. This shows that targeted violence against the black community is alive and well in Canada and not just the United States.
In the colonial state that is Canada, the police are an inherently repressive institution, an occupation army that serves exclusively the interests of the capitalist settler white-supremacist elite. The struggle for justice on the steps of the Toronto police HQ is a righteous step forward and is deservedly receiving increasing support. We want to point out in particular the solidarity protest organized by black women here in Ottawa that challenged the dull quietness of City Hall last week, drawing a disproportionate response from the police.
OPIRG exists to provide support to social justice movements, and as such we offer our assistance to BLMTO. In the past, we have assisted groups in various manners, such as funding material or transportation. We encourage BLMTO supporters to send any proposal to opirgripo.board@gmail.com.

Vigil for Berta Caceres

There will be a Vigil in solidarity with the people of Honduras in their loss with the assassination of

and to support the protection of her family and community.

This will be held at the Friends house 91 Fourth Avenue,

SATURDAY 2nd  April

At 6:00 p.m.

 

Justice for Omar Nayef Zayed, Justice for Palestine! (OPIRG-endorsed ILPS statement)

Justice for Omar Nayef Zayed, Justice for Palestine!

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Commission 3 (In Defense of Human Rights and Political Prisoners) condemns in strongest terms the assassination of Omar Nayef Zayed, a former Palestinian political prisoner who sought asylum in Bulgaria.

As we mourn the death of Zayed, we salute him for his courage and resilience in his life-long struggle for the freedom of Palestine and its people from the US-backed Zionist occupation. We also convey our sincerest condolences to his family and comrades in the movement for Palestinian liberation.

Zayed died after falling from a high storey of the Palestinian Embassy building in Sofia, Bulgaria.  He took refuge in the Embassy after Zionist and Bulgarian forces broke into his house on December 17, 2015 to arrest him for extradition to Israel. Earlier on, the Israeli Embassy wrote a letter to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice demanding Zayed’s extradition as he is a fugitive from the law.

Zayed was arrested in 1986 and sentenced to life imprisonment for “targeting illegal Zionist settlers in Jerusalem.” He escaped Zionist prison in 1990 when he was transferred to a hospital while on a 40-day hunger strike. He stayed and raised a family in Bulgaria where he ran a grocery store in the Palestinian community in Sofia as he continued with his commitment for the liberation of his country.

Media reports on his fall did not exclude the possibility of foul play, of him being pushed down the building. The  Israeli media itself was the first to report that Zayed was assassinated although the Palestinian Ambassador refuted the allegation. The fact is Palestinians anywhere in the world have been continuously persecuted. More than 800,000 Palestinians have been jailed since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.  The Israel State intelligence group Mossad is responsible for special operations overseas.

We hold Israel and its intelligence group Mossad, the Palestinian Authority and the Bulgarian government accountable for the killing of Omar Nayef Zayed. We demand justice for Zayed and for the Palestinian people.

ILPS Commission 3 members: Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights – Philippines, Hustisya Philippines, Society of Ex-Detainees against Detention and Arrest (SELDA), Desaparecidos, Bayan Southern Tagalog (Philippines), Pamalakaya, Amihan Northern Mindanao, Health Alliance for Human Rights Philippines, Fundacion Amancio Villatoro – Guatemala, Frente Popular Revolucionario – Mexico, Pinatud A Saleng Ti Umili – Hongkong, Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Promotion for Church People’s Response – Philippines, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – US, Defend Job Philippines, SoCSKSarGenDS Agenda, Cordillera People’s Alliance – Philippines, Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Gabriela New York, Kalumbay Northern Mindanao, Filipino Women Migrant Workers Association – Hongkong, Pasaka-Southern Mindanao, Public Interest Law Center, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Northern Mindanao, Kasimbayan, MOVADEF-Peru, CRA Manipur, Kasama-Timog Katagalugan, New York Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, Samidoun Palestinian Political Prisoners Network, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines – Canada

Additional endorsers: Revolutionary Students Movement – University of Ottawa, Movement Etudient Révolutionnaire/Revolutionary Student Movement – Canada, Université d’Ottawa Groupe de recherche d’intérêt public de l’Ontario –  University of Ottawa, Ontario Public Interest Research Group

Justice for Berta Cáceres and Nelson García! (OPIRG-endorsed ILPS statement)

Justice for Berta Cáceres and Nelson García! 

Justicia para Berta Cáceres y Nelson García!

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle Commission 3 (In Defense of Human Rights and Political Prisoners) strongly condemns the murders of Honduran activists compañera Berta Caceres, killed on March 3, 2016, and compañero Nelson Garcia, killed on March 15, 2016.

Caceres was a co-founder of the Civil Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Civico de Organizaciones Populares Indigena de Honduras, COPINH), while Garcia is an active member of the said organization. Founded in 1993, COPINH is a social and political organization that has been actively campaigning for the rights of the Lenca people in Honduras amid the encroachment of US and other transnational corporations in their ancestral lands.

Caceres was a recipient of the 2015 Goldman Environment Prize for her leading role in the resistance to the Agua Zarca Hydro-Dam project that could have had detrimental impact on the environment and lives of the indigenous Lenca people in the Rio Blanco community. The dam project, which is constructed along the Gualcarque river, was partially controlled by the powerful Atala family in Honduras, which has billions worth of assets and businesses in the country and is suspected as among the backers of the 2009 coup in the country. The World Bank was among those who backed and supported the said project. It is reported that Agua Zarca goons and paramilitaries, supported by the Honduran military, are among the perpetrators of Caceres’ killing.

We extend our solidarity to the families of Caceres and Garcia, to the members of COPINH, to the Lenca and the Honduran people, in these difficult times when attacks against indigenous peoples and environmental activists are on the rise worldwide. From 2010 to 2014, one hundred one (101) environmental activists have been killed in Honduras.

We salute the courage and tenacity of Caceres and Garcia in their fight for a “free decolonized future from the three systemic forces – capitalism, racism and patriarchy.” Likewise, we share the rage of the Honduran people, especially the indigenous people, on the killing of Caceres and Garcia.

We likewise express our grave concern on the situation of Gustavo Castro Soto, coordinator of Friends of the Earth Mexico and director of Otros Mundos, who was shot twice during the attack on Caceres and survived the said attack by pretending to be dead. Soto remains in the custody of Honduran authorities, along with three of Caceres’ colleagues from COPINH, as the Honduran authorities try to whip up spectacular stories to whitewash the investigations and evade accountability on Caceres’ murder.

We share the rage of all peoples who have been victims of imperialist plunder and greed. We denounce the hand of US government in these crimes as proven in many similar cases the world over where US intervention, and economic and geo-political interests have come into play.

Caceres had been the subject of death threats for leading the resistance to the intrusion of multinational interests in their indigenous land and resources, with the backing of the US government.  She was even the number one target in a “kill list” leaked by the media that included activists, journalists and politicians who were critical of neoliberal projects of the government, such as destructive dams, mines and mega-agriculture.

Garcia was shot dead by gunmen in his house, about a hundred miles from Caceres’ home, after he came from another nearby community where more than one hundred police and military officers evicted dozens of families.

Since the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, said to have been maneuvered by the US, Honduran communities have been heavily militarized and human rights abuses have been prevalent. Honduras has at least 12,000 soldiers, one for every 717 people, whose generals have been trained, and in the US Army School of Americas (SOA)/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Operation (WHINSEC). For over 68 years, the school has trained more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counter-insurgency techniques, sniper skills, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. The 2009 coup in Honduras was led by SOA graduates to install regimes propped up by the US government. Since the coup, the US has invested $45 million in the construction of a US military base, Soto Cano, commonly known as Palmerola. It has also brought in $5.25 million as direct military aid to the Honduran government, excluding funds for the training of at least 164 soldiers at the SOA.

All across Latin America and the world, the common denominators to ensure US hegemony are US aid, militarization, pillage of land and resources, and human rights abuses.

In Mexico, the Merida Initiative, a US aid program for Mexican security forces supposedly to fight organized crimes and drug cartels, has been unmasked as a ploy to protect US business interests on Mexico’s gas, oil and mineral resources and decimate activists, including young students, who are critical of the government’s guarantee for these business interests.

In Colombia, the US-funded Colombia Plan is aimed to solve not only the problem of drug trafficking but also the internal social conflict in the country resulting in the death of more than 200,000 people.

In the Philippines, indigenous peoples are in the same plane – killed or massacred for resisting the intrusion of transnational interests in their ancestral land and mineral resources. US military financing has supported, trained and equipped state security forces and paramilitary forces to quell the people’s resistance and protect foreign investments, in consonance with the Philippine government’s subservience to imperialist neoliberal policies.

Following Caceres’ murder, her children and mother Bertha issued the following statement:

“We want respect for her integrity as a figure of the resistance. She is an eternal fighter against racism, patriarchy and the oppressive and murderous capitalist system. Her struggle cuts across nations and is anti-imperialist, rejecting the coup financed and supported by the United States which spurred the delivery of national territory to transnational corporations at the expense of rights of the Lenca people and the Honduran people…

We know with complete certainty that the motivation for her vile assassination was her struggle against the exploitation of nature’s common wealth and the defense of the Lenca people. Her murder is an attempt to put an end to the struggle of the Lenca people against all forms of exploitation and expulsion. It is an attempt to halt the construction of a new world. Berta’s struggle was not only for the environment, it was for system change, in opposition to capitalism, racism and patriarchy.”

We demand justice for Caceres, Garcia and all Honduran activists. We hold the Honduran and US government accountable for their deaths. We vow to continue and intensify the struggle against US imperialism and all forms of reaction.

ILPS Commission 3 members: Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights – Philippines, Hustisya Philippines, Society of Ex-Detainees against Detention and Arrest (SELDA), Desaparecidos, Bayan Southern Tagalog (Philippines), Pamalakaya, Amihan Northern Mindanao, Health Alliance for Human Rights Philippines, Fundacion Amancio Villatoro – Guatemala, Frente Popular Revolucionario – Mexico, Pinatud A Saleng Ti Umili – Hongkong, Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Promotion for Church People’s Response – Philippines, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – US, Defend Job Philippines, SoCSKSarGenDS Agenda, Cordillera People’s Alliance – Philippines, Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Gabriela New York, Kalumbay Northern Mindanao, Filipino Women Migrant Workers Association – Hongkong, Pasaka-Southern Mindanao, Public Interest Law Center, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Northern Mindanao, Kasimbayan, MOVADEF-Peru, CRA Manipur, Kasama-Timog Katagalugan, New York Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, Samidoun Palestinian Political Prisoners Network, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines – Canada

Additional endorsers: Revolutionary Students Movement – University of Ottawa, Movement Etudient Révolutionnaire/Revolutionary Student Movement – Canada, Université d’Ottawa Groupe de recherche d’intérêt public de l’Ontario –  University of Ottawa, Ontario Public Interest Research Group