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Press Release: Saro-Wiwa memorial weekend looks at worldwide struggles

Last weekend saw a very successful 14th edition of the Ken Saro-Wiwa memorial seminar taking place in Inver, Erris. Among the focuses of the weekend was examining how Human Rights issues faced by local people can be addressed through Human Rights Law. Much of the seminar centred on learning about the struggles of other communities facing oppression from large multinationals and state forces, and how we in Erris can act in solidarity with them. The recent An Bord Pleanala decision was also discussed.

Fr. Frank Nally, who has worked with indigenous communities in the Philippines over the last 20 years, spoke about the parallels between the campaign in the Philippines and that here in Erris.

Other significant speakers at the Memorial Seminar included Tara Smith from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway, who is undertaking a thesis in the area of Enhancement of Environmental Protection in the Laws of Armed Conflict ; Cathal Doyle, who is completing a PhD on the theme Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the Extractive Sector, with a particular focus on Indigenous People ; and Eve Tessera, a lawyer who has worked with human rights organisations in Ireland, Guatemala and in the Extractive Department with the France-based NGO Sherpa.

Sr. Majella McCarron, who organised the seminar, said: “It’s very important to create solid links with people all over the world who have the strength to resist the destruction of their communities and their ways of life. If this seminar plays a small role in doing that, then it will have served its purpose.

She added: “We also explored how European law can be used to support the defense of Human Rights in Erris, and this is an avenue that we will be following up strongly.”

For verification and further comment, please contact:
Sr. Majella McCarron
Maura Harrington