Bishop Daniel Bohan is part of a Delegation to Study the Effects of Free Trade in Mexico

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(Ottawa – CCCB) From March 11-19, 2005, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will be participating in a Canadian delegation of Church representatives that will examine the impact of free trade in Mexico from a human rights perspective, look at alternatives, and develop concrete recommendations to be made to the Canadian government.

Most Rev. Daniel Bohan, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, and a member of the CCCB Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs, will be among those participating in this mission, which has been organized by KAIROS, an ecumenical organization that brings together about a dozen coalitions and committees dedicated to social justice and the defence of human rights.

Working with partners in Mexico, the delegates will have meetings with human rights organizations, Churches, labour unions, Indigenous groups and women’s organizations. They will also visit local communities affected by trade policies. Half of the delegation will go to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, a city along the U.S. border that is built almost entirely around export processing zones and maquiladoras, factories that employ cheap local workers. The other half of the delegation will go to Chiapas in southern Mexico to explore the impact of free trade on Indigenous and rural communities and hear about ongoing issues of militarization. Delegates will also spend time in Mexico City meeting with national human rights and economic justice groups, as well as representatives of the Canadian Embassy.

On their return, the delegates will go to Ottawa to bring their recommendations before the Canadian government during the Global Week of Action on Trade, April 10-16.

KAIROS will have nine delegates in Mexico. In addition to Bishop Bohan, the group will include Rt. Rev. Susan Moxley, Suffragan Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI; Rev. Raymond L. Schultz, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Ms. Wanda West, lay member of the Executive of the General Council of the United Church of Canada; Sister Sheila Moss, S.S.A. (Sisters of St. Ann); Father Paul Hansen, C.Ss.R., Chair of the KAIROS Board, and Rev. J. Mark Lewis, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. KAIROS staff Rusa Jeremic and Rachel Warden will accompany the delegates.

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