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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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JPIC Staff Visits Bangladesh May 3rd, 2013

Khasi VillageChristina Herman, JPIC Office Associate Director, visited Bangladesh in late March/early April. Her daughter, Emma, accompanied her, taking thousands of photos and copious notes. Fr. Joseph Gomes, OMI graciously hosted a ten day trip around the Sylhet region of NE Bangladesh, which provided a fascinating look at the lives of the indigenous Khasi people and the issues confronting their villages. The Oblate mission in Bangladesh started in the Sylhet region, and there are a number of parishes among the indigenous peoples of the area.

Frequent national strikes (or hartals) called by a political opposition determined to undermine the government made the trip challenging, but the group covered a lot of ground.

Sharif Jamil, Buriganga RiverKeeper

Sharif Jamil, Buriganga RiverKeeper

In Dhaka, Christina teamed up with the Bangladesh WaterKeeper, Sharif Jamil, in an examination of environmental and labor issues related to the leather and garment export industries. They visited the Buriganga River, leather tanneries north of the city, a massive garment factory, and had a number of informative meetings with factory owners and managers, labor union organizers, and environmentalists.

Polluted Water from Leather Tanneries

Polluted Water from Leather Tanneries flows into the Buriganga River

The tanneries are a large source of pollution for the main river flowing through Dhaka, a megacity of an estimated 18 million people. Millions depend on the rivers for bathing, washing clothes, and transportation, yet they are heavily polluted with industrial and human waste. Human Rights Watch recently issued a study of the health impacts of the tanneries, which matched the findings of this trip. Untreated industrial waste flowing from the garment factories is common. A huge factor in the pollution is the lack of adequate sewage treatment for the city’s burgeoning population.

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Faith-Based Investors Call on Pharmaceutical Companies to Join the Medicines Patent Pool November 30th, 2011

In honor of World AIDS Day and the United Nation’s theme, “Getting to Zero”, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) reiterate their endorsement of the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) created by UNITAID, and call upon pharmaceutical companies to share their licenses for life-savings AIDS medicines.

“The ‘Getting to Zero’ theme has three main goals,” said Christina Herman of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate: “Zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths: The MPP is an effective and powerful strategy against all three. As investors in pharmaceutical companies who view access to medicines as a fundamental human right, we strongly encourage participation.”

Read the ICCR Press Release on the UNITAID Patent Pool…

 

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