MAC: Mines and Communities

Ecuador: European Tour discusses mining in Kimsacocha

Published by MAC on 2013-11-19
Source: Statement (2013-11-12)

European Tour discusses mining in Kimsacocha

FIAN Press Release

12 November 2013

Criminalization of human rights defenders in Ecuador before international authorities

'Drinking water gives us life, but becoming aware will give us water'

Heidelberg, Stockholm, Brussels - Federico Guzmán, human rights defender and peasant leader from Kimsakocha, began a two week tour of Europe to meet with high-level authorities in Stockholm, Umea, Milan and Brussels. These meetings will address Ecuador´s criminalization of Guzmán and others because of their involvement in the resistance movement against mining in the Kimsakocha highlands.

In Sweden, Mr. Guzmán will explain how foreign companies' mining activities affect local communities, and that, until recently, Swedish pension funds were invested in these mining companies. According to current regulations, the decision-making process for investing pension funds does not take into account possible effects on human rights in those countries where the projects are carried out. This contradicts Sweden's international human rights obligations and the Maastricht Principles regarding economic, social and cultural rights.

In Brussels, Federico Guzmán will meet with representatives from European Union political organs to discuss the criminalization of human rights defenders in Ecuador in light of the EU´s Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. And finally, Mr. Guzmán will take part in various events to promote and raise awareness regarding the human rights situation in Ecuador.

Over the course of the two week tour, Mr. Guzmán will be accompanied by FIAN International and their representatives in Belgium, Ecuador, Sweden as well the Manitese organization. These organizations maintain that "the Kimsakocha case symbolizes the criminalization that indigenous and peasant communities suffer on a daily basis because they fight to defend their right to territory and their access to the natural resources, both necessary for their subsistence. And furthermore, they are threatened by these mining projects that are implemented without their free, prior and informed consent".

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