AFRICA - Migrants and land-grabbing, spies of injustice; the commitment of all against fake news

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 missionary animation   justice   economy  

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - Migrants from Africa are the spies of a series of global economic and social injustices who call all to work for true justice based on solidarity: this is the sense of the series of speeches during the meeting "Africa is not fake news", promoted by the Comboni missionaries, held on November 14 in Rome.
The main fact to point out is that the migration phenomenon primarily regards Africa: Uganda alone, for example, hosts more than a million Sudanese refugees. The number of migrants and asylum seekers who arrive in Europe is a small percentage of Africans moving within their continent. People who are often fleeing from wars, climate change, and the plundering of their land to make place for foreign agricultural multinationals.
"The phenomenon of migrants that frightens European public opinion is a phenomenon that we ourselves produce", pointed out Father Domenico Guarino, a Comboni missionary who, after having worked in Latin America, in particular in Peru, works at the community of Palermo in favor of migrants.
Only one data can give an idea of what has been said by Fr. Guarino: out of 30 million hectares of fertile land in the world obtained from so-called "land grabbing", about half is in Africa. Luciano Ardesi, a sociologist and expert in land grabbing, said that land grabbing processes have accelerated in the last 10 years, due to the 2007-2008 financial crisis, which pushed international investors to diversify their investments, and because of the growing demand for food and the increase in biofuel production. The phenomenon is difficult to monitor with precision because most of the contracts among the governments concerned and the investors are kept secret. However, some data is known. Mozambique leads the ranking of African countries affected by the phenomenon: well over 3 million hectares (10% of its soil) have been rented long-term to multinationals and foreign states. A single contract with a UAE company regarding the granting of 600,000 hectares of cultivable land has caused the displacement of 500,000 peasants who have lost their means of livelihood.
Women are, in turn, the main victims of human trafficking, recalled Sister Gabriella Bottani, Combinian, co-ordinator of Talitha Kum, a worldwide network of consecrated life against human trafficking. The religious recalled that there are trafficked people within their own country, others towards neighboring countries and then there are those sent to other continents. According to some estimates, many trafficked Africans were found in 69 nations around the world, including the Americas. It is clear that there are criminal organizations able to handle such complex trafficking.
The use of human organs (both for medical purposes and for carrying out “magical” rituals), exploitation of prostitution are the reasons of these traffickings.
Africa is therefore plundered of its people, its lands and its natural riches. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the main Country, victim of this phenomenon, a huge resource of timber, strategic mineral (copper, cobalt, coltan, tin, gold), diamonds and oil. But for the Congolese people, these riches are not a blessing but a curse, because domestic and foreign interests have made the country experience the 32-years of Mobutu’s dictatorship and then a period of instability that still persists in order to plunder its resources illegally. Fr. Elias Sindjalim (Togolese Combinian working in the DRC) pointed out that because of this situation, 86% of the Congolese population is unemployed and those who have a job have very low salaries that have been halved in the last two years due to the depreciation of the national currency. Hope, says Fr. Elias to Fides "will come from the awakening of African populations. African solutions to African problems". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 14/11/2017)