Woman of Courage 2015!
UNANIMA has become more involved in the issue of mining as it impacts water, the environment, and Indigenous Peoples; and many sisters in our communities already are working with this topic. Last July the Peruvian government approved a law which reduces the importance of environmental standards, in order to attract investment in the extractive industries. The promotion of extractive industries has already led to several cases such as that of Máxima Acuña de Chaupe, a peasant woman farmer who has taken an activist role in defending her life and her water.
She was sued by Yanacocha – a huge gold mining company – for living on the land where they were planning their Conga extraction project, and for her “aggravated usurpation” in activism against the company. Maxima and her family were not only ordered to leave the land, they were also asked to pay Yanacocha a compensation fine of about US $2,000. Men from the mining company and special police forces have beaten her and her husband, threatened her family’s lives, and killed her livestock. Maxima and her daughter Ysidora have testified to officials in Paris, Brussels, and Geneva against the disproportionate struggle in which her basic democratic rights are being trampled. We thank Leonor Valenzula Torres CCV for bringing this remarkable woman to the attention of the nominating committee!