Our friend Chandrika Sharma, a tireless advocate for the rights of fisherwomen, was one of the 239 passengers on the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared while crossing the South China Sea last weekend.
Chandrika has long been known as a passionate and effective professional whose work globally has focused on defending the rights of coastal communities, small-scale fishers, indigenous and gender rights in international fisheries and aquaculture.
In recent months, she played a key role in negotiations between governments, civil society organizations and small-scale fisheries at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome to develop "Voluntary Guidelines to ensure the sustainability of small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication," a hard-hitting document based on human rights, respect for cultures, non-discrimination, fairness and gender equality.
Michèle Mesmain, coordinator of the Slow Fish campaign, met her during the last FAO technical consultation in February: “I was struck by her relentless courage and her inclusiveness. She is a warm yet firm person, clearly driven by the urgency to protect the rights of those who do not have a voice.“
For Juan Carlos Cardenas, director of the NGO Ecoceanos Chile, who has worked for years with Chandrika, the news of the disappearance of the plane, "is a severe blow to all organizations and citizens fighting against destructive social, environmental, cultural and economic impacts the neoliberal model has on our seas and coasts... Chandrika has brought humility, hard work and strategic vision to the global movement for women’s, citizens and fishers rights, both through educating and as a role model for others."
One of her most recent interventions was captured in the film Chronicles of Oblivion, which will be shown at the end of March during the Fishers of the World film festival.
The Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing plane has been missing since Saturday, March 8. Naval and air patrols from different countries in the area have been conducting search operations in the race to find the plane. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those on board.
Sources: ecoceanos.cl and l-encre-de-mer.fr