Social Injustice & Climate Chaos

Feminist Response to Cancellation of COP25

Regardless of where the COP25 will be held, the world will not take its eyes off Chile, or what the people are demanding.”

On Wednesday, October 30th, the Government of Chile announced that it would not host the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Summit “COP25” in the country, in view of the  social revolution that is underway.

Political Context

On October 19th, the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, in agreement with the National Security Council, declared a state of emergency – the first one since Pinochet’s dictatorship – in response to protests against the rising cost of transportation prices in Santiago –  a breaking point on top of 30 years of neoliberal policies that affect every aspect of Chilean people’s lives. Chile has the highest level of income inequality amongst the richest countries in the world, and women often bear the brunt of this inequality as they experience massive pay gaps and markedly low levels of employment.

This imposed state of emergency resulted in the severe restriction of peoples’ rights to assembly and freedom of movement. The violence used by police/military forces (“carabineros”) for controlling demonstrations has been excessive. It has been reported that over 3000 arrests have been made throughout the country, that over 1000 people have been injured and at least 18 people have died from the violence. The Instituto de Derechos Humanos INDH has confirmed that it was compiling 55 legal cases related to five homicides and eight instances of sexual violence involving both police and military agents, which will be investigated by Chile’s public prosecution service. Other sources suggest wide-spread police violence against women including imposed strip searches, rape threats, and groping with hands and weapons by officers. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, has called for an investigation of allegations of human rights violations and is expected to visit Santiago. 

COP25 Suspension 

The decision of the Chilean President to forego hosting the APEC and COP25 international summits is not reflective of the demands of national social movements seeking reform. While the state of emergency was lifted on Sunday, October 27, we are deeply alarmed with the tone in the announcement of the President, seeming to place blame for the cancellations on social movements, rather than on the unjust elitist systems that have created vast inequality in the country. We are concerned with the continuous violation and failure of protection of human rights of the people of Chile.

In addition, this decision puts urgent needed climate action at risk just shortly before the Paris Agreement enters its implementation in 2020. We urgently remind leaders around the world that urgent action on climate change and the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement cannot be postponed.

To this end:

  • We call on the Government to ensure the protection of human rights and environmental rights defenders, as well as the release of political prisoners, as the country moves forward in dialogues on responding to the demands of local people;
  • We call on the Chilean government, and all parties to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, to adopt reforms that put an end to industrial capitalism in its late neoliberal phase, which is the cause of both climate change emergency and inequality;
  • We call on Governments to ratify and sign the Escazu Agreement, obliging states to protect the people and groups that defend the environment;
  • We call on the global community to recognize and support grassroots groups, organizations, delegations and others still going to Chile to attend and galvanize the “Cumbre de los Pueblos” (People’s Climate Summit); 
  • And finally, we call on Chile and all countries to not use the postponement of a COP to postpone climate action – we urgently need and demand:
    • Ending fossil fuel extraction and investments in fossil fuel infrastructure;
    • Ending fossil fuel subsidies without imposing unjust austerity measures onto the people. Fossil fuel companies and governments should incur these costs, and resources should instead be urgently redirected toward the promotion of gender equality, education, social protection and a peaceful and healthy environment;
    • Boost the urgently needed integration of ocean issues into all respective bodies and mechanisms under UNFCCC;
    • Deliver upscaled, ambitious, fast-tracked and gender-transformative finance delivered overwhelmingly as grants to ensure climate frontline communities and the poorest countries and people are able to better respond and adapt to the urgent and slow-onset realities of the climate crisis, as well as to address irrevocable loss and damage; 
    • Ensure a rights-based and people-centered global framework for action on climate change that works towards a just transition for all. 

Social Justice & Climate Chaos

Throughout this, the people of Chile have continuously and courageously taken to the streets, the vast majority in peaceful demonstrations, to demand Constitutional reform, the resignation of President Sebastian Piñera, to challenge the use of military force, and to demand an end to systems that currently privileges an elite few off the backs of the Chilean people. 

As feminists from around the world, we have watched as people’s movements are mobilized in the ‘birthplace of Neo-liberalism’ to challenge the very conditions which we know are fundamental drivers of the climate crisis – a white-supremacist hetero-patriarchal system that prioritizes profit over people and elites over majority, that privatizes critical public goods, and that upholds a model of resource extraction, environmental exploitation and militarization. 

Women and feminists have been on the frontlines of the protests in Chile, as they are on the frontlines of the climate justice movement. Organizing local assemblies that have focused on care work including child care, support for the elderly and providing food have been central feminist aspects of the movement. 

The social revolution in Chile mirrors the demands and mobilizations of social, economic and ecological justice and feminist movements around the world – reverberating loudly in their demands for basic human rights, for bodily autonomy, for access to water, food, education and universal healthcare, to dignified and decent work, and to a peaceful, healthy, safe, and sustainable environment. The pillars of ‘market-driven development’ are being torn down as the reality of growing global social inequality and injustice, and a relentlessly progressing climate emergency are at our doorsteps. 

For decades, women’s rights and feminist movements have brought forward an analysis to shift to a more peaceful and just world, demanding a revolution that would deliver people from our interlocking systems of capitalism, resource extraction, labor exploitation, racism, colonization, the commodification of nature, imperialism, hegemony and militarism. We remain steadfast in this work and stand in full solidarity with the feminists, women, the youth and students, Indigenous people, LGBTQI++ persons, human rights advocates and environmental rights defenders in Chile!  

Regardless of where the COP25 will be held, the world will not take its eyes off Chile, or what the people are demanding. These demands echo around the world. Neoliberalism has  lead us to this climate emergency, and people around the world are uniting and rising up against this urgent crisis.


Signatures – Sign on here

Organizations/ Networks

ActionAid – Global

Adéquations – France

Alliance for Future Generations – Fiji

Alliance for a Clean Environment (Australia)

Asabe Shehu Yar’adua Foundation (ASYARFS) – Nigeria/ United States

Asia Development Alliance – India

Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)- Malaysia

Asociación Ciudadana por los Derechos Humanos- Argentina

Association De Lutte Contre Les Violences Faites Aux Femmes Et Aux Filles Extreme Nord Cameroun- Cameroun

Aube Nouvelle pour la Femme et le Développement (ANFD)- DR.Congo

Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space- Australia

Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament (Protiki Jubo Sangsad)- Bangladesh

Business Innovation Research Development – France

Center for Earth Ethics- USA

Center for Women’s Global Leadership – USA

Civicus -DIGNA- Fiji

Climate Emergency Institute- Canada

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres, CLADEM- Regional

Community Church of New York- USA

Continental Network of Indigenous Women is the Americans- United States

CPER Trus- India

CRACIA- United States

DIVA for Equality- Fiji

Dukingire Isi Yacu-Burundi for Resillience – Burundi

Eglise du Christ au Congo/Bureau d’Architecture Technologies Appropriees et Infrastructures Rurales(ECC/BATIR)- Republique Democratique du Congo

ELFA- Fiji

Enlaces por la Sustentabilidad – El Salvador

Equality Bahamas- The Bahamas

Feminist League- Kazakhstan

Feminist Task Force- Global

Femmes et enfants an detresse- Niger

Fiji Youth SRHR Alliance – Fiji

Free the Marginalized Women Advocates (FREMWA)- Ghana

Free Trade Union Development Center- Sri Lanka

Freshwater Action Network Mexico- Mexico

Fridays for Future, 350 Brooklyn Families- United States

Fundacion Guatemala- Guatemala

Fundaciónpara Estudio e Investigación  la Mujer

Gatef- Egypt

GenderCC- Women for Climate Justice – Germany / South Africa

GPPAC – Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – Fiji

Haus of Khameleon – Fiji

Hope Advocates Africa- Cameroon

Humanitaire Plus- Togo

Initiative de la Société civile pour les ODD- Côte d’ Ivoire

INOCHI / Women for Safe Energy – United States

Interamerican Net women shelters- México

International Roma Women Organization – Republic of Moldova

International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA)- Australia

INWES- France

Italian Climate Network- Italy

Joint Centre for Disaster Research- New Zealand

Kathak Academy(KA)- Bangladesh

Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance- Kenya

Landesa- US

Lead Tchad- Chad

LIFE- Education Environment Equality e.V.- Germany

Mayama ac – Mexico

Medical IMPACT- Global

MenEngage Alliance – United States

Millennia2025 Women and Innovation Foundation – International, based in Wallonia, Belgium

Na i SoqoSoqo Vakamarama i Taukei- Fiji

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) – Uganda

Osi Joe Touching Lives Initiative – Nigeria

PACEP – Kenya

Pacific Partnerships on Gender, Climate Change & Sustainable Development (PPGCCSD)Pacific SIDs Coalition

Radanar Ayar Association- Myanmar (Burma)

Rainbow Pride Foundation- Fiji

Rapad Maroc- Morocco

Red Dot Foundation- India

REPEM, SEDRA- Chile

Rural Women Initiative- Kenya

S.M.R.C- India

Servicios Ecumenicos para Reconciliacion y Reconstruccion- SERR- El Salvador

Sisters of Charity Federation- United States

Solidaritas Perempuan (Women Solidarity for Human Rights)- Indonesia

Somali Youth Development Foundation (SYDF)- Somalia

Success Capital Organisation- Botswana

Sukaar Welfare Organization-  Pakistan

Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment- Uganda

Sustaining All Life- United States

Temple of Understanding- USA

The Beam Magazine- Germany

The ISET of Djerba- Tunisia

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy- USA

UBINIG (Policy Research for- Development Alternative)- Bangladesh

Union de l’Action FéministeMaroc

Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office- United States

United for a Purpose Brigade- Seychelles

US Human Rights Network- United States

Water.org- United States

WILPF ITALY- Italy

Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC)- Nigeria ADVOCATES

Women Asso- Turkey

Women Engage for a Common Future- The Netherlands

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International- United States

Women’s Environment and Development Organization – United States

Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group WISG- Georgia

Women’s March Global – Switzerland

Women’s Major Group – Global

Zimbabwe United Nations Association – Zimbabwe

Individuals 

Julie Gorecki, Feminist and Climate Justice Scholar and Activist

Margaux Granat, Climate Justice and Equity Advisor, United States

Kodjo M APPOM, Executive Director, Togo

Maria Nailevu, Feminist and Climate Activist, Fiji

Diane Husic, Dean, School of Natural and Health Sciences, Moravian College, USA

Sebastian Guzman, Visiting Assistant Professor, Purchase College, SUNY, United States

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Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.

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