Extracting Justice

U.S. and Canadian bishops joined their Latin American counterparts who came to Washington to testify about the environmental and social ills wrought by extractive industries like mining and logging. The bishops testified on March 19 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in a bid to heighten awareness of the degradation of land, water—and people’s lives—brought about by companies, most of them foreign-owned, that take resources from the earth. Bishop Roque Paloschi of Roraima, a member of the Brazilian bishops’ Amazon commission, said before the hearing that “large financial companies” must bear some of the responsibility, as they finance the operations of transnational mining and logging firms. It is not only the land that is being exploited, Bishop Roque said through an interpreter, but also “the indigenous and nonindigenous people who are being exploited.”

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