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Appel des Organisations de la Société Civile demandant la suspension du Projet minier de Base

President of the Republic of Madagascar
Johannesburg, 2nd December 2019

RE: Suspension of Base Toliara Mining Project

Dear Mr. President

The organisations listed at the bottom of this letter, all working to support communities facing large mining and infrastructure projects, are writing to congratulate you and the Malagasy Authorities for the courageous and responsible decision taken on the 6th November 2019 to suspend the Base Toliara mining activities. You have taken this step despite likely pressures exerted by the project promoters and their financiers. We wish to acknowledge this as a great step in respecting the fundamental rights of the Malagasy people to life and well-being, to protection of the natural resources upon which they depend, and respect for their land rights.

Mr. President, as you are well aware, the establishment of the Base Toliara mining project in the three mining concessions of Manombo, Ankililoaka and Basibasy, currently under exploration, will affect many people living around the Mikea Forest, especially the Mikea indigenous group. The Mikea people maintain distinct customs and traditions and already live in precarious conditions, depending on land and forest resources including medicinal plants for their very survival. They have limited access to market, medical care, education and other public services.

If mining proceeds, the affected communities will be removed from their land and face resource use restrictions which will affect their livelihoods and their health. This has particular implications for the Mikea women who are primarily responsible for the collection of potable water; the harvesting of materials for house construction, and the weaving of baskets and mats; fishing; and the pasturing of livestock.  Moreover, the mining company’s operations are likely to pollute the Manombo river, a key source of water for people and their livestock, as well as fish which are an important part of the local people’s diet.  Large scale mining always entails the removal of people from their land and with this the destruction of social relations, community harmony, and the breaking of ties to the ancestors. The entry of male workers from outside of the area will also undermine social relations, and will likely increase interpersonal violence, violence against women, and the abuse of substances, such as alcohol. This affects women in very particular ways because of the limited power they hold in their families and communities.

Through this letter, the undersigned are urging you and the entire Government to take a step forward and to bring a permanent halt to the mining project out of respect for the Mikea people and other affected communities, and their fundamental rights as Malagasy citizens and as indigenous people.  Madagascar is well-known for its wildlife and culture and is home to some of the world’s most unique flora and fauna that are endemic to the island. Ilmenite mining in the Toliara region will adversely affects the environment by inducing loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and contamination of surface water, groundwater and soil.

We strongly encourage you to extend your commitment to negotiate with Base Toliara during the next period, and instead bring your attention to the affected communities on their numerous well-founded concerns about the mining project. It is important that their voices be heard, and that they enjoy the right of consent given the impacts of the proposed projects on their lives. We also encourage you to undertake a cost-benefit analysis to fully recognise and calculate the short, medium and long-term impacts of this project. In this regard the inter-generational costs, the costs to sensitive ecology and ultimately to the climate will be critically important to consider.

Given that women will carry the burden of impacts – which our organisations have well identified and documented across Africa and the rest of the world – we encourage your government to focus particular attention on women’s voices and concerns as you widen the consultation and involve more community actors in decision-making.

We believe the communities have their own vision of development and a more sustainable alternative they will want to promote which we hope you would listen to and embrace in your plans for the future.

Thank you for your attention in this matter. We work closely with Association MA.ZO.TO, CRAAD OI and the Tany Collectif and will continue to monitor the developments around the Base Toliara project and your renewed efforts to consult the affected peoples. We hope and believe that the rights of indigenous people to Free Prior and Informed Consent will be respected and implemented by your government.


WoMin African Alliance

With support and solidarity from the following collectives & organisations:
Igapo Project
Salva la Selva
Aid/Watch (Australia)
La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas y Defensa Ambiental – LAVIDA – México
SUHODE Foundation
Green Advocates International (Liberia)
Global Rights
Columban Faith and Justice Office
Mining Watch Canada
Conseil Régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement
Inclusive Development International
The Gaia Foundation
Save Lamu, Kenya
London Mining Network
Coal Action Network
Natural Justice
JVE Côte d’Ivoire
Alyansa Tigil Mina
Andrew Lees Trust
Jordens Vänner – Friends of the Earth Sweden
International Accountability Project
WIDE – Network for Women´s Rights and Feminist Perspectives in Development
Frauen*solidarität/Womens Solidarity
The Pennsylvania State University
Natural Resources Alliance of Kenya (KeNRA)
Stand For Indigenous People
Health of Mother Earth Foundation
MiningWatch Canada
WoMin African Alliance, Regional
Biowatch South Africa
Justiça Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique
Just Associates Southern Africa
Rural Women’s Assembly Southern Africa
People’s Dialogue
TCOE (Trust for Community Outreach and Education)
African Resources Watch (Afrewatch), DRC
Earthlife Africa Jhb
Kwataniza Women’s Group, Uganda
Copac – Cooperative and Policy Alternative Center
WACAM, Ghana
FESO – Femmes Solidaire, DRC
Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power
Lumiere Synergie pour le Developpement (LSD)
Umphakatsi Peace Ecovillage
Volkshilfe Solidarität

Lily Akal, France
Guadalupe Rodriguez, Spain
Natalie Lowrey, Australia
Gerardo Alatorre, Mexico
Gertrude Eigelsreiter-Jashari, Austria/Europe
Frank Luvanda, Tanzania
Frank Nally, Ireland
Maggie Mapondera, Zimbabwe
Dieudonné Tshimpidimbua, DRC
Rebeka Ramangamihanta, Madagascar
Jean Thevenot, France
Nicky Le Roux, South Africa
Mervyn Abrahams, South Africa
Molly Cyr, France
Raya Famau Ahmed, Kenya
Andrew Whitmore, United Kingdom
Mads Ryle, UK
Adriana Sri Adhiati, Germany
Eymuna Maria, Tanzania,
Larissa Yapo, Ivory Coast
Jaybee Garganera, Philippines
Yvonne Orengo, UK
Jayshree Pather, South Africa
Tirhas T. HABTU, Austria
Melanie Ossberger, Austria
Ulrike Bey, Austria
Diego Santos Santiago, Austria,
Kristina Douglass, USA
Eva Lachkovics, Austria
Tanambelo Rasolondrainy, USA
Sarah Fichtinger, Austria
Julia Günther, Austria
Lutz Vollmer, Netherlands
Kristina Osen, Germany
Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria
Ugbe Evelyn Terundu
Dale McKinley
Marie-Louise Kellett, South Africa
Brigitte Berger, Austria

In solidarity with:

ASSOCIATION MA.ZO.TOmikeamada@yahoo.com

CRAAD-OI : Centre de Recherches et d’Appui pour les Alternatives de Développement – Océan Indien ;

Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches – TANY ;

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