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Recently-jailed Madagascan mother to confront Rio Tinto at London AGM


Perle Zafinandro

Perle Zafinandro

A mother-of-four who was recently jailed for 58 days for confronting mining injustice against her community in Madagascar will be joined by church justice and peace groups and other campaigners on Tuesday morning from 9.30am on Tuesday outside the Rio Tinto AGM at the QE II Conference Centre, SW1.

Perle Zafinandro is the president of the FAGNOMBA association that has accused QMM-Rio Tinto of land-grabbing and environmental destruction in Madagascar. After having been involved in protests against the company since 2010, in March 2013, Perle and a number of other members of the organisation were arrested and imprisoned for 58 days. Perle will be supported at the AGM by Mamy Rakotontrainibe of the Paris-based Collective for the Defence of Malagasy Land.

They will be joined at the AGM by Roger Featherstone of Arizona Mining Reform Coalition and Adam Lee from the global union confederation IndustriALL.

The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition is working to stop Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton construct a copper mine on land of great environmental and recreational value, and sacred to Indigenous Apache people, in Arizona.

The global mining union IndustriALL has a worldwide campaign against Rio Tinto not only because of the company’s anti-union stance but also in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and others suffering because of the company’s activities.

Perle Zafinandro said: "Rio Tinto was supposed to bring positive development to Madagascar, but any benefits are massively outweighed by the enormous losses affecting the majority of the population through land grabbing and environmental devastation. Many people in the Anosy region are dependent on farming and fishing to feed themselves. Their very existence is threatened through loss of access to forests, social upheaval and environmental degradation caused by the mining."

Adam Lee said: "Mining and metals giant Rio Tinto’s behaviour includes major disputes with trade unions, communities and indigenous peoples. With our campaign, IndustriALL Global Union aims to build union power at Rio Tinto plants so that workers can have good jobs in healthy communities where human rights are respected."

Richard Solly, co-ordinator of the London Mining Network, said: "Every year the Rio Tinto AGM sees community representatives from all over the world come to complain about land grabs, environmental destruction and human rights issues. Why are mining companies with such awful records allowed to be listed on the London Stock Exchange?"

Rio Tinto holds its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 15 April at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1 at 11am

Visitors to the AGM have been coordinated through London Mining Network – an alliance of human rights, development, environmental and solidarity groups. For more information see: http://londonminingnetwork.org @londonmining on twitter

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