CHICAGO/TORONTO: Christian Peacemaker Teams announces delegations, Fall 2008 through 2009.

CPTnet
28 June 2008
CHICAGO/TORONTO: Christian Peacemaker Teams announces delegations, Fall 2008 through 2009.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE DELEGATION TO ALGONQUIN TERRITORY: November 15-23, 2008.

Delegation members will travel to the traditional territories of the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations, about 80 km north of Kingston, Ontario, to support the nonviolent struggle to protect their unceded land from corporate uranium exploration and mining. An open-pit uranium mine would release toxic gases and leave millions of tonnes of radioactive tailings that would permanently pollute groundwater. The Ardoch Algonquin First Nation says, "Uranium mining will lead directly to our social, spiritual and cultural demise." The Algonquins have called a moratorium on uranium exploration and are seeking a resolution to their historic land claims.

After securing the gate at the Robertsville Mine for 107 days throughout the summer of 2007, both First Nations participated in a mediation process with the federal and provincial governments and the mining corporation. Talks broke down in February 2008 and subsequently an Ontario Superior Court judge issued harsh penalties to Algonquin leaders for nonviolently resisting a court injunction against their blockade. Both First Nations continue their efforts to bring Ontario to the negotiating table in a meaningful way. Local "settler" (non-Algonquin) residents also support the campaign, and municipalities, including Ottawa and Kingston, have joined the call for a moratorium.

The CPT Aboriginal Justice Delegation will meet with Algonquin leaders as well as settler and environmental activists; seek the perspectives of those who support uranium exploration; make visits to the historic blockade site; develop an analysis of colonialism; participate in undoing racism training; and organize a public witness in support of the Algonquin's struggle for justice. Fundraising expectation is $275 (CDN or US) and delegates arrange their own travel to Toronto or Kingston, Ontario.



ABORIGINAL JUSTICE DELEGATION TO ASUBPEESCHOSEWAGONG FIRST NATION (Grassy Narrows, Ontario): September 12-21, 2008.

Delegation members will travel to the First Nations community of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows, Ontario) and visit other nearby First Nations communities and the northwestern Ontario town of Kenora.

In 1999, the Ontario government granted a 20-year license to Abitibi Consolidated, allowing them to clear-cut Asubpeeschoseewagong traditional lands. Grassy Narrows community members started blockading Abitibi logging contractors in November 2002 with CPT accompaniment through that winter. The blockade met with partial success. Nevertheless, nearly 50% of Asubpeeschoseewagong territory has been clear-cut, further destroying traditional hunting, trapping, food and medicine gathering activities.

In May of 2008, Grassy Narrows First Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ontario government to negotiate over several years a long term agreement for the protection, management and use of the forest. Soon after, the recently merged company Abitibi-Bowater announced that it would withdraw from logging the territory in question.

Kenora (pop. 16,000) is an important regional centre for thirteen Anishinaabe communities who are members of the Grand Council Treaty 3. Situated on the shores of Lake of the Woods, Kenora's economy is sustained by summer tourism and resource extraction. There is a strong sense of division between non-aboriginal and aboriginal residents and visitors, with aboriginal residents and visitors frequently experiencing racially-based mistreatment.

The delegation will spend time on traditional Asubpeeschoseewagong territory, document the effects of clear-cutting and learn about Anishinaabe struggles for justice. In Kenora, the delegation will meet with aboriginal and non-aboriginal community leaders who are working to improve relations between non-aboriginal and aboriginal residents. Delegation members will develop an analysis of colonialism, participate in undoing racism training, and plan a public witness focused on Aboriginal sovereignty issues. Fundraising expectation is $375 (CDN or US), and delegates arrange their own travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba or Kenora, Ontario.



COLOMBIA: September 24-October 7, 2008 (Micoahumado); January 13-26, May 26-June 8, July 14-27, and September 22-October 5, 2009 (focus for 2009 delegations to be announced).

In Colombia, an insurgency-counterinsurgency war has left over 200,000 people dead since 1964 and displaced over three million others from their homes. CPT's Colombia delegations will meet with church, human rights and social justice organizers in Bogotá and in Barrancabermeja, the industrial city in the Magdalena Medio region where CPT's full-time team has been based since 2001. In addition, delegates will spend several days in the countryside where communities have been subject to attack and threats by various armed groups. The specific communities will vary for each delegation as indicated below:

September/October 2008 (Micoahumado). The Magdalena Medio region has a complex history of engagement with both the armed conflict and the organization of non-violent, civil society alternatives. As Colombia's richest oil and gold producing region--as well as an important region for coca growing, processing, and transportation to northern markets--the Magdalena Medio continues to be a centre of conflict between the Colombian Armed Forces, left-wing guerrilla organizations, and right-wing paramilitaries. In spite of the ongoing violence and the negative impacts of State-sponsored programs such as coca fumigation, many communities have organized themselves into Humanitarian Spaces that work to build a culture of peace and basic human rights. Delegates will meet with rural communities and their leaders in the municipality of Micoahumado. Focus for 2009 delegations will be announced.

Fundraising expectation is $1900 US/ $2200 Cdn, which includes roundtrip airfare from a designated U.S. or Canadian city. Those planning to travel from other countries, contact the CPT office for more information.


PALESTINE/ISRAEL: October 14-27 and November 19-December 2, 2008; January 6-19, March 17-30, May 19-June 2, July 21-August 3, October 6-19 and
November 17-30, 2009.

As governments talk about a "Middle East Peace Process," Israelis and Palestinians continue to suffer losses from violent incidents. Expanding Israeli settlements threaten Palestinian land and homes. Road closures, checkpoints, and home invasions affect the daily lives of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation. Israel's separation barrier (much of it built on confiscated Palestinian land) not only separates Palestinian communities from each other but also acts as a barrier between ordinary Israelis and Palestinians seeking to come together for peace. CPT delegation members will gain a perspective on how these issues affect daily life. Delegates will meet with Palestinian and Israeli human rights representatives and peace workers in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. They will visit Palestinian families whose home and livelihoods are threatened by expanding Israeli settlements. They will travel to the city of Hebron and the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills and experience firsthand CPT's work alongside Israeli and Palestinian partners. They will challenge the structural violence of the Occupation through nonviolent public witness.

CPT has had a continuous presence in Hebron since June 1995 and in At-Tuwani since September 2004. Fundraising expectation is $2200 US / $2500 Cdn, which includes roundtrip airfare from a designated U.S. or Canadian city. Those planning to travel from other countries, contact the CPT office for more information.



IRAQ (KURDISH NORTH): Dates to be announced (tentative, late winter, 2009).

The Kurds of northern Iraq faced discrimination, terror and death under the regime of Saddam Hussein. As the security situation deteriorated in southern and central Iraq, thousands of displaced persons fled to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) controlled area in the north. Recently, northern border villages have been the site of military attacks by Turkey and Iran.
CPT's delegation will be based in Suleimaniya, in the KRG. Delegates will meet with representatives of non-governmental organizations and human rights
groups, displaced persons, government officials, and others. They will gain perspective on the challenges facing people in northern Iraq and the impact there of violence in other areas of Iraq and along the border. The delegation will participate in the work of CPT's longer-term project of building bridges and human rights reporting.

CPT has had a presence in Iraq since October 2002, first in Baghdad and since November 2006 in the Kurdish north. Fundraising expectation is $3000
(US or Cdn) which includes roundtrip airfare from a designated U.S. or Canadian city. Those planning to travel from other countries, contact the CPT office for more information.

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FOR ALL DELEGATIONS:
CPT is a faith-based group that seeks participants who are interested in human rights work, committed to nonviolence and to undoing racism, and willing to participate in team worship and reflection. Delegates should have plans to share about the trip upon return to their home communities and congregations. Round-trip airfare from a designated U.S. or Canadian city (except as indicated above), all on-ground travel, two to three meals a day, simple accommodations, and all honorariums and delegation fees are covered.

For more information or to apply, contact CPT, PO Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680; phone 773-277-0253; fax 773-277-0291; e-mail delegations@cpt.org, or see CPT's website at: http://www.cpt.org (click on "Participate/Join a Delegation").