The Lenten Campaign - Fastenopfer

The Lenten Campaign - Fastenopfer

The Lenten Campaign - Fastenopfer


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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Lenten</strong> <strong>Campaign</strong><br />

Mineral extraction: profits for some, suffering for others<br />

<strong>The</strong> Matterhorn is a small piece of Africa in<br />

the heart of the Alps. <strong>The</strong> African continental<br />

plate gives birth to one of the most<br />

beautiful landscapes of our country.<br />

This continent turns up in the most unexpected<br />

places: our mobile phones and<br />

computers, for example. Some of the metals<br />

used to make them were mined in the<br />

African subsoil. Often with associated<br />

violence : expulsions, intolerable working<br />

conditions, wars, hunger…<br />

<strong>The</strong> wealth of countries with rich mineral<br />

deposits is plundered: the State grants the<br />

concessions for raw material extraction<br />

to international companies, who enjoy<br />

significant privileges and violate the<br />

rights of local populations. <strong>The</strong> people who<br />

used to live with these treasures in their<br />

soil become landless or workers without<br />

rights: instead of benefiting from this<br />

wealth, they are either displaced or work for<br />

a starvation wage on which they cannot<br />

live. <strong>The</strong>ir right to food is violated, not<br />

to mention their right to live with dignity.<br />

It is this injustice that the 2011<br />

ecumenical campaign denounces.<br />

Alongside the local populations of the<br />

Congo, as well as in South Africa and<br />

other countries, the Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong><br />

Fund and Bread for All are committed to<br />



English<br />

2011<br />




SMS MANGER 9<br />

TO 3636<br />

increasing justice, by supporting the local<br />

communities affected by the activities of<br />

the multinationals in their battle to defend<br />

their rights and by requesting the federal<br />

authorities to monitor the work of the<br />

Swiss companies involved in African mining<br />

activities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> campaign advocates that the exploitation<br />

of deposits should not lead to violations<br />

of human rights, in particular that it should<br />

protect the right to food of the populations<br />

concerned. <strong>The</strong> exploitation of mineral<br />

resources must be carried out above all for<br />

the benefit of the people living in the countries<br />

of the South.

Introduction to the theme<br />

<strong>The</strong> right to food and mineral<br />

exploitation in the Democratic<br />

Republic of Congo<br />

It has become a commonplace that: “the<br />

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is<br />

a geological scandal involving more than<br />

1100 different mineral substances”. Although<br />

these minerals are highly prized on international<br />

markets, they do not generally<br />

provide any benefit for the Congolese.<br />

<strong>The</strong> DRC possesses one third of the<br />

world’s known reserves of cobalt, 10% of<br />

its copper reserves and 80% of its coltan<br />

reserves. It is one of the world's major<br />

suppliers of diamonds. And yet “its”<br />

mineral wealth does not bring the DRC<br />

much in return: it ranks among one of<br />

the poorest countries.<br />

<strong>The</strong> impact of mineral extraction<br />

on food security<br />

<strong>The</strong> Congolese do not seem to realise that<br />

their agricultural and natural resources<br />

would bring them equal benefits. <strong>The</strong><br />

chance to earn a small sum of money in the<br />

mines has a negative impact on education<br />

and on agriculture. One of the first consequences<br />

is a reduction in the supply of<br />

food products. Price rises logically result<br />

from this, as well as food insecurity. If noone<br />

cultivates the land, how can sustained<br />

access to food be possible?<br />

<strong>The</strong> State has obligations with regard to the<br />

2<br />

right to food of its citizens. Agricultural<br />

activities have been abandoned because<br />

the land was sold either by agreement or by<br />

force to the mining companies. Losing access<br />

to the means to produce their food, men and<br />

women are driven to work in the mines.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ones who gain from the mineral exploitation<br />

are the mining companies themselves,<br />

who generally export the raw materials. <strong>The</strong><br />

Congolese State profits from this through<br />

the various taxes it collects from the companies.<br />

But as corruption has become “a<br />

way of life”, the tax revenue is insignificant<br />

and the mining sector’s contribution to<br />

the national budget is purely symbolic. <strong>The</strong><br />

Congolese population hardly benefits from<br />

the mineral exploitation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> theological, social<br />

and ethical perspective<br />

<strong>The</strong> dignity of Congolese men and women<br />

must be restored by helping them to go<br />

from a less to a more human condition.<br />

Without the ethical reference, without the<br />

moral values of those engaged in the mining<br />

sector, no social, economic, environmental<br />

or cultural well-being can be guaranteed.<br />

From the theological perspective, “Man<br />

is truly human only if he is the master of his<br />

own actions and the judge of their worth,<br />

only if he is the architect of his own<br />

progress. He must act according to his<br />

God-given nature, freely accepting its<br />

potentials and its claims upon him” (Populorum<br />

Progressio, 34). Progress must<br />

not be understood as the growth of the mining<br />

sector, although this is an important<br />

activity, often the only source of income for<br />

the poor. “<strong>The</strong> Glory of God is Man fully<br />

alive” (St. Irenaeus of Lyon), that is, able<br />

to live with dignity.<br />

In the Bible, several words are used to<br />

define the mandate given to Man by God.<br />

He gave Man, who is the summit of his<br />

intrinsically “good” creation (cf. Gen. 1.31),<br />

the obligation to “take care of it” responsibly<br />

(cf. Gen. 2.15).<br />

My view is inspired by the Church’s vision<br />

of a person created in the image of God and<br />

of a society where love, justice, peace and<br />

solidarity reign. It is borne along by the<br />

notion of the “integral human development”<br />

of all, according to the phrase used<br />

by Pope Paul VI in Populorum Progressio.<br />

This implies that the exploitation of our<br />

natural resources should be methodical,<br />

monitored, transparent and carried out for<br />

the benefit of the people.<br />

Extracts from the introductory text by<br />

Ferdinand Muhigirwa Rusembuka, Director<br />

of the Catholic Institute CEPAS (Study<br />

Centre for Social Action) in Kinshasa,<br />

DRC.<br />

Photo: © Patricio Frei, Action de Carême

Take action<br />

“160,000 Roses for the Right to Food”<br />

<strong>The</strong> traditional “rose day” will be held on<br />

2 nd April 2011. Each rose purchased helps<br />

to support a cooperation development<br />

project by the Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong> Fund<br />

and Bread for All in the Democratic Republic<br />

of Congo. Since 2005, this action has<br />

led to the collection of some 4.8 million<br />

Swiss francs for underprivileged populations<br />

in Africa, Asia and Latin America.<br />

Shared Bread, a joint action with your<br />

local baker<br />

From 9 th March to 24 th April 2011, Swiss<br />

bakers are joining the campaign for the<br />

fourth year running by proposing “Shared<br />

Bread” during Lent. For each “Shared<br />

Bread” sold, 50 centimes go towards the<br />

projects of the Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong><br />

Fund and Bread for All.<br />

Does the baker in your area or parish<br />

take part?<br />

If not, talk to them about this action and<br />

invite them to participate!<br />

You can explain this action with the help of<br />

the leaflet “Shared Bread” which contains<br />

a reply coupon enabling your baker to<br />

subscribe to the action and to order the<br />

required material.<br />

For more information: 021 617 88 81 or<br />

www.droitalimentation.ch/pain<br />

Petition for improved multinational<br />

social responsibility<br />

For the 2011 ecumenical campaign, Bread<br />

for All and the Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong><br />

Fund wish to increase the Swiss people’s<br />

awareness of the human rights abuses<br />

committed by Swiss mining companies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> charities will also invite you to lobby<br />

the Federal Council for the adoption of a<br />

clear and coherent policy in this domain.<br />

Sign and get others to sign the campaign<br />

petition!<br />

by signing it directly on the website<br />

www.droitalimentation.ch<br />

by downloading the petition form on the<br />

site www.droitalimentation.ch or ordering<br />

it by telephone from our offices.<br />

<strong>The</strong> petition in brief<br />

Bread for All and the Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong><br />

Fund are asking the Federal Council to<br />

commit itself to drawing up a clear, coherent<br />

and transparent policy concerning international<br />

companies and human rights. As<br />

regards the mining industries, this policy<br />

must notably guarantee:<br />

increased financial transparency: transnational<br />

companies, especially petrol<br />

or mining ones, must openly publish,<br />

by country, the payments made to the<br />

governments of the countries whose<br />

deposits they exploit.<br />

increased judicial transparency: the<br />

Federal Council must identify the possibility<br />

of introducing a due diligence into<br />

Swiss law to oblige multinationals whose<br />

headquarters are in Switzerland to take the<br />

necessary measures to prevent violations<br />

of human rights by their subsidiaries.<br />

Make a donation by SMS<br />

Support the local populations affected by<br />

mineral and petrol extraction activities in<br />

their battle to defend their rights!<br />

Send “MANGER” followed by the sum<br />

that you wish to donate to 3636.<br />

For example: to make a donation of 10<br />

Swiss francs, send “MANGER 10” to 3636.<br />

3<br />

© Miles Guidetti: Fernando Pereira/ Le Cygne Blanc

Support a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo<br />

Creating village associations<br />

in rural areas<br />

In the province of Bas-Congo, the villagers<br />

of Tsumba Tkituti have joined together to<br />

form the association “Uplabo” meaning<br />

“Union of Planters”. This is one of the<br />

118 organisations set up by the Centre for<br />

the Promotion and Education of Base<br />

Communities (CEPECO), which has been a<br />

partner for over ten years with the Swiss<br />

Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong> Fund in the Democratic<br />

Republic of Congo. <strong>The</strong> CEPECO supports<br />

each association in its battle for food security<br />

and the strengthening of subsistence<br />

agriculture.<br />

With the support of the CEPECO, these<br />

associations also create savings banks. In<br />

addition, the CEPECO assists the communities<br />

in the defence of their rights in<br />

terms of the environment, access to natural<br />

resources and local government.<br />

<strong>Lenten</strong> Fund Project no. 130219<br />

CCP 10-15955-7<br />

Pain pour le prochain<br />

Av. du Grammont 9<br />

1007 Lausanne<br />

Tél. 021 614 77 17<br />

ppp@bfa-ppp.ch<br />

www.ppp.ch<br />

Brot für Alle<br />

Monbijoustrasse 29, Postfach 5621,<br />

3001 Bern<br />

Tel. 031 380 65 65,<br />

bfa@bfa-ppp.ch<br />

www.brotfueralle.ch<br />

A Centre for Street Children<br />

More than 80,000 children live on the<br />

streets in the Democratic Republic of<br />

Congo. Since the collapse of the Kolwezi<br />

copper mine, the economic and social<br />

crisis has inexorably spread. Many children<br />

are neglected, have run away from home<br />

or are driven out by their parents. Roaming<br />

gangs of street children feed on rubbish<br />

and stolen food and have to find a new<br />

place to sleep each night. To meet the most<br />

urgent needs, numerous organizations<br />

provide free meals for the children. This<br />

is the case of “Kipedano”, women of the<br />

Evangelical Church of North Katanga,<br />

who receive support from Connexio – a<br />

partner of Bread for All. Three times a<br />

week, they cook for about 300 children<br />

and teenagers. <strong>The</strong>y also provide a safe<br />

place, a haven from the harsh reality of<br />

life on the street, where the young can<br />

play and learn as children once again.<br />

Bread for All Project no. 197.5101<br />

CCP 10-26487-1<br />

Action de Carême<br />

Av. du Grammont 7<br />

1007 Lausanne<br />

Tél. 021 617 88 81<br />

actiondecareme@fastenopfer.ch<br />

www.actiondecareme.ch<br />

<strong>The</strong> Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong><br />

Fund (<strong>Fastenopfer</strong>-Action de<br />

Carême-Sacrificio Quaresimale)<br />

<strong>The</strong> Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong> Fund is a<br />

Catholic charity in Switzerland. It provides<br />

financial support for over 350<br />

projects in Africa, Latin America, Asia<br />

and Switzerland. Other objectives of the<br />

Swiss Catholic <strong>Lenten</strong> Fund are to raise<br />

the Swiss population’s awareness of the<br />

problems of maldevelopment and to intervene<br />

in the public debate on various<br />

development-related questions.<br />

Bread for All<br />

(Brot Für Alle – Pain pour<br />

le prochain – Pane per Tutti)<br />

Bread for All is the development service<br />

of the Protestant Churches in Switzerland.<br />

It supports some 350 development<br />

programmes and projects in 60 countries.<br />

Through its information and awareness<br />

campaigns in Switzerland on North-South<br />

questions and its development policy activities,<br />

Bread for All is committed to fairer<br />

international socio-economic structures.<br />

<strong>Fastenopfer</strong><br />

Alpenquai 4<br />

6002 Luzern<br />

11512<br />

Tel. 041 227 59 59<br />

N°<br />

mail@fastenopfer.ch<br />

www.fastenopfer.ch Article

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