Avant-première of “The Illusion of Abundance” at the European Parliament: a dialogue between civil society and members of the institutions – CIDSE

Avant-première of “The Illusion of Abundance” at the European Parliament: a dialogue between civil society and members of the institutions

Wednesday, October 12, CIDSE, together with other international civil society organisations, was hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels by the Progressive Alliance of the Socialists and Democrats and the Responsible Business Conduct Group. The occasion was the preview of the documentary The Illusion of Abundance, by Erika Gonzalez Ramirez and Matthieu Lietaert, which focuses on the contemporary stories of resistance of three women in Latin America: Maxima Acuña (Peru), Berta Cáceres (Honduras) and Carolina de Moura (Brazil). The latter, together with the two co-directors, also joined a panel with MEPs and civil society.  

Carolina, who works as gender coordinator at Instituto Cordilheira, lives in the heart of the region of Minas Gerais, an historical mining hotspot in Brazil. As a human rights and environmental activist, she travelled to Europe to advocate for strong rules to hold corporations accountable for their damage to people and the planet.    

Her visits, and the documentary avant-prémière, comes at a time where the Commission’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence proposal has focussed the attention of the Parliament on the question of how to prevent and redress corporate abuses.

During the avant-prémière at the European Parliament Carolina stated:

“Being a defender is challenging, dangerous and exhausting, but it’s also joyful. You feel your life is not in vain. Women defenders in Latin America are bringing a feminist perspective to environmental exploitation.”

Danilo Chammas and Carolina de Moura.

The event was opened by Maria Arena (MEP, Socialists and Democrats party, Chair of the Human Rights Sub-Committee) and moderated by Sylvia Obregon (European Coalition for Corporate Justice).

“This due diligence law should be for the victims, not for the companies. We are living in a brutal world. I want to be more emotional, I want people to be more emotional”, MEP Maria Arena said.

Marie Arena and Matthieu Lietaert (co-director).

Other members of the European Parliament were present. Among them: Lara Wolters (Socialists and Democrats party, Rapporteur on Corporate Due Diligence) and María Soraya Rodríguez (Renew Europe). Danilo Chammas, Brazilian Human Rights lawyer from the Instituto Cordilheira, also attended the screening. Giuseppe Cioffo, Corporate Regulation and Extractives officer, represented CIDSE in the panel and highlighted the flaw in the CSDDD that need to be addressed to bring about meaningful changes for communities.

“Free Prior and Informed Consent of indigenous people is an established international principle, and it is surprising it is not contained in the draft”, said Giuseppe.

He also highlighted the importance of strong liability and access to justice provisions.  
Giuseppe Cioffo, CIDSE Corporate Regulation and Extractives officer.

Brussels was the first stop of The Illusion of Abundance “lobby tour” around Europe. It will continue in Luxembourg and will later reach The Cologne Film Festival in Germany. A screening of the documentary will also take place in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Palais des Nations (United Nations Office) on October 24th during the 8th session of negotiations for a UN Binding Treaty on transnational corporations. The film will then travel through Netherlands, Austria, France and Denmark. 

Through the powerful images of the Illusion of Abundance,  the directors aim to show how far corporations are willing to go and how badly legislation is needed. This directive could represent a landmark step forward  to minimize the negative impacts of businesses on workers, communities and the environment worldwide, and advancing corporate accountability and justice.  

You can learn more about the documentary by reading the press kit of The Illusion of Abundance and the CIDSE interview of Erika Gonzalez, Co-director of the film.

The documentary “The Illusion of Abundance” was funded by twenty international civil society organisations, including CIDSE, from eleven countries in the EU and the USA.

Photo credits: European Parliament.

  This event is co-founded by the European Union.  The contents are the sole responsibility of the organisers and the speakers and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. 

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