MAC: Mines and Communities

Urgent Action: Close Marlin Mine Now, Guatemala

Published by MAC on 2010-10-25
Source: NISGUA (2010-10-04)

Urgent Action: Close Marlin Mine Now, Guatemala

Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala

4 October 2010

Esteemed colleagues,

On behalf of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), we send you warm greetings and present you with another opportunity to stand in solidarity with the communities of Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán in the struggle for their rights against Goldcorp Inc.'s open-pit Marlin mine in Guatemala.

In May 2010, 139 organizations signed a letter of international support urging the government of Guatemala to comply with the precautionary measures established by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that are intended to protect life and physical integrity from imminent harm.

Today, we ask for your support on a new letter. To date, the government has not complied, mine operations continue, and communities around the mine continue to suffer from its activity. On October 1st, Goldcorp took advantage of this hesitation and dumped untested and unauthorized drainage water from the tailings ponds into a local river causing the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to open a penal suit against the company. It is a crucial moment to demand that the president take immediate action to comply with the precautionary measures and suspend mining operations.

Please write a letter to the President of the Republic and other ministers to show your solidarity with the communities affected by the Marlin mine.

Thank you for your time and for standing in solidarity with the communities affected by the Marlin mine in Guatemala.

In solidarity,

Caitlin Dunklee
US Mining Organizer
Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala


Presidente Lic. Álvaro Colom
Republica de Guatemala
Casa Presidencial
6a avenida y 6a calle zona 1, 1er. Nivel, ala Poniente Sala 16
Ciudad de Guatemala,

Re: Compliance with the precautionary measures of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Dear Mr. President,

It is with great respect that we address you and take this opportunity to urge the State of Guatemala to implement the precautionary measures MC-260-07 issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The suspension of mining operations is meant to provide immediate security and protect the health of the communities of Maya Mam and Sipakapense people that are suffering from damages caused by the operation of the Marlin I mine.

In June 2010, 139 international and national organizations wrote to urge you to comply with the precautionary measures. Today, four months later, we reiterate this request. The government has not yet complied; mine operations continue. On September 21, Goldcorp took advantage of this hesitation and dumped untested and unauthorized drainage water from the tailings ponds into a local river causing the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to open a penal suit against the company.

The purpose of the precautionary measures is to suspend mining operations and prevent communities from imminent harm. The studies conducted by Physicians for Human Rights and the University of Michigan, in addition to the study published by E-Tech International, provide ample evidence that there is reason to be concerned for the health of the communities surrounding the mine. Furthermore, the Procurador General de la Nación has recommended mine suspension, and tensions within the community continue to escalate, as demonstrated by the July 17 attack on a local anti-mine activist. The rationale that the government is waiting to complete an administrative process before suspending mine operations is not appropriate. The time to act is now.

We understand that the State's most valuable resource is the life of each of its citizens, and as such, it is incumbent on the Guatemalan government to implement the precautionary measures of the IACHR and guarantee the life and personal integrity of the inhabitants in the eighteen communities surrounding the Marlin I Mine.

As representatives of national and international organizations and networks, we ask that the government act immediately to implement the precautionary measures and ensure that there is a scientifically rigorous independent assessment of the risks and impact of environmental pollution caused by the open-cast gold mining on the communities in Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán.

Yours sincerely,

cc

Fax:(502) 225-1414

Presidenta Ruth del Valle
Comisión Presidencial Coordinadora de la Política del Ejecutivo
2 Av. 10-50 Zona 9
Ciudad de Guatemala,

Dr. Luis Alberto Ferraté Felice
Ministro del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
20 calle 28-58 zona 10
Ciudad Guatemala,

Romeo Augusto Rodriguez Menendez
Ministerio de Energia y Minas
MEM, Diagonal 17 29-78 zona 11
Las Charcas.

Vicepresidente Dr. Rafael Espada
República de Guatemala

6ta. Avenida 4-19 zona 1

Casa Presidencial
Puerta Norte
Guatemala, ot 01001


European Parliamentarians Urge Guatemala to Suspend Goldcorp's Mine

21 October 2010

Brussels

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENT OF GUATEMALA

FROM: MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

RE: the precautionary measures granted by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to communities of the Maya indigenous peoples of the Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán Municipalities in the Department of San Marcos, Guatemala

Mr. Alvaro Colom
President of the Republic of Guatemala

We, the undersigned members of the European Parliament, express our concern regarding the information received about the alleged violations of human rights of the Maya peoples (Sipakapense and Mam) of the Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán Municipalities in the Department of San Marcos, in the framework of the mining of the Marlin I project and other activities related to the concession granted to the company Goldcorp/Montana Exploradora de Guatemala S.A.

These alleged violations led the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (henceforth "the IACHR") to grant precautionary measures for the members of these communities on May 20, 2010. These precautionary measures, which respond to the same concerns we express, aim to avoid serious and irreparable harm to the human rights of these communities.

We urge the State of Guatemala to carry out efficient implementation of these measures, which request, interalia:

We appreciate that the State of Guatemala, on the initiative of the Prosecutor General (Procurador General de la Nación), began the administrative process to suspend operations of the Mining Law Marlin I on August 10, in order to comply with the commitments made under International Human Rights Law. We ask the Government to keep us informed on progress and results in the implementation of this process, to report to us on the extent to which precautionary measures are being implemented, and to inform us about the participation of the representatives of the communities in the planning and implementation of these measures.

We further voice our concern in relation to the growing climate of conflict in the villages surrounding the mine, the attacks against individuals opposed to mining, as well as alleged arrest warrants against leaders and spokespersons for the affected communities. We ask the government to keep us informed on the specific actions taken to protect the life and physical integrity of the members of the 18 communities, until the IACHR adopts a decision on the merits of the petition associated with this request for precautionary measures.

The strength of the Inter American human rights system and compliance with the obligations undertaken through the Inter American Convention on Human Rights are essential for strengthening the political, economic and social development of the region, and represent the basis of the European Union's relations with Central America. The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in force and the recently signed Association Agreement have at their foundation the democratic and human rights clause. This clause gives us confidence that the State of Guatemala will comply with the precautionary measures granted by the IACHR.

SIGNATURES FROM EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT:

Eva-Britt SVENSSON, Sweden, President of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality

Marita ULVSKOG, Sweden, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Ivo BELET, Belgium, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Jean-Luc DEHAENE, Belgium, Committee on Budgets

Jean LAMBERT, United Kingdom, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Goran FARM, Sweden, Committee on Budgets

Catherine GREZE, France, Committee on Development

Ska KELLER, Germany, Committee on Development

Nikolaos CHOUNTIS, Greece, Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

Barbara LOCHBIHLER, Germany, Subcommittee on Human Rights

Bart STAES, Belgium, Committee on budgetary Control

Wolfgang KREISSL-DORFLER, Germany, Committee on Foreign Affairs

Oriol JUNQUERAS VIES, Spain, Committee on Petitions

Franziska Katharina BRANTNER, Germany, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality

Helmut SCHOLZ, Germany, Committee on International Trade

Frieda BREPOELS, Belgium, Committee on Foreign Affairs

Satu HASSI, Finland, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Anna HEDH, Sweden, Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Asa WESTLUND, Sweden, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Raul ROMEVA I RUEDA, Spain, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality

Olle LUDVIGSSON, Sweden, ommittee on Employment and Social Affairs

Kathleen VAN BREMPT, Belgium, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Rui TAVARES, Portugal, Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Said EL KHADRAOUI, Belgium, Committee on Transport and Tourism

Heide RUHLE, Germany, Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Martin HAUSLING, Germany, Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

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