MAC: Mines and Communities

Guilty Verdict: Canadian Government Shares Responsibility for Mining Injustice

Published by MAC on 2014-12-14
Source: Statement (2014-12-10)

Guilty Verdict: Canadian Government Shares Responsibility for Mining Injustice

On International Human Rights Day, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal releases its final decision

TPP Canada Press release - http://www.tppcanada.org/presse/communiques/?lang=en

10 December 2014

Ottawa and Montreal – A guilty verdict resulting from the first session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) on the Canadian mining industry in Latin America was published today in English, French and Spanish.

Following two days of testimony in Montreal this past May, the PPT jury determined that five Canadian mining companies and the Government of Canada were responsible for multiple cases of human rights violations. These include labour rights violations, denial of indigenous self-determination rights, environmental destruction, targeted assassinations and criminalization of dissent, among others.

“The testimonies demonstrated the complicity and responsibility of various branches of the federal government, including its diplomatic corps and its overseas aid branch,” deplores Maude Barlow, water activist, chairperson of the Council of Canadians and member of the PPT jury. “Through its actions and omissions, the government supports an unacceptable situation that is causing environmental and social devastation within communities in numerous Latin American countries.”

Oscar Morales, affected by the Escobal mine in Guatemala and witness during the hearing, adds that “the current pattern of criminalization and repression of social protest, visible in Guatemala and other countries of Latin America, is aggravated by recent legal reforms in the region aimed at silencing opponents, and that this contributes to perpetuating impunity of human rights violations”.

Today, the jury also published a series of recommendations to all responsible parties, including host countries, the Canadian government and specific companies.

“The process of reparation needs to include a variety of steps including an immediate halt to activities that cause or reinforce harm, the acknowledgement of damages caused and the creation of laws or mechanisms to avoid their repetition,” adds Gianni Tognoni, secretary-general of the PPT in Italy.

“International Human Rights Day is an important moment to remind us all that mining activities are a major cause of human rights abuses in the Americas. The witnesses at the hearing clearly argued that these cases are not isolated events, but part of a generalized context of grave impacts on health, life, the environment and civic participation of affected communities, in particular for Indigenous women,” declared Viviane Michel, President of Quebec Native Women (QNW) and member of the PPT jury.

On International Human Rights Day, groups in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver will deliver the verdict to responsible entities, including the headquarters of companies and offices of federal government agencies named in the decision. The verdict will also be sent to all political parties and Members of Parliament, as well as relevant UN bodies.

The PPT is an opinion tribunal that chose to hold a session in Canada in order to highlight the devastating impacts and impunity of the Canadian mining industry.

Contacts:
Daniel Cayley-Daoust, spokesperson – 819-593-4579, communication.tpp[at]gmail.com
Claire Doran, spokesperson – 514-754-5592

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Background

This first Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal hearing to take place in Canada focused on Canadian mining in Latin America. The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is an international initiative of the Lelio Basso Foundation, an Italian foundation that aims to promote the recognition and application of international law related to Indigenous and human rights. This is the first in a series of hearings expected to take place in Canada.

Canada is a principal actor in the global extractive sectors. Of the world’s mining companies, 75% are headquartered in Canada. In 2013, nearly 1,500 mining projects in Latin America were led by mining companies that were registered on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX and TSX-V).
Furthermore, the McGill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America (MICLA) and the Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America (OCMAL) have identified nearly 90 social conflicts involving Canadian companies in Latin America.

List of members of the jury: Mireille Fanon-Mendès-France (Frantz-Fanon Foundation, France), Maude Barlow (The Council of Canadians, Canada), Nicole Kirouac (Lawyer, Quebec), Gérald Larose (Professor and labour activist, Quebec), Viviane Michel (Quebec Native Women, Innu Nation), Javier Mujica Petit (Expert in human rights, Peru), Antoni Pigrau Solé (Professor of international law, Spain), and Gianni Tognoni (Lelio Basso Foundation, Italy)

List of entities that were named as responsible for human rights violations by the Tribunal: the Government of Canada (through the acts and omissions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development – DFATD, Export and Development Canada – EDC, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board – CPPIB), five Canadian mining companies (Excellon Resources, Blackfire Exploration, Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources), and host states (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Chile).

Online: http://www.tppcanada.org/presse/communiques/?lang=en

English Executive Summary: http://www.tppcanada.org/wp-content/uploads/Executive-summary-Ruling-PPT-Canada.eng_.pdf

English Ruling: http://www.tppcanada.org/wp-content/uploads/Executive-summary-Ruling-PPT-Canada.eng_.pdf


Human Rights Committee set to scrutinize Canada regarding extra-territorial human rights obligations

Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights release - http://globalinitiative-escr.org/human-rights-committee-set-to-scrutinize-canada-regarding-extra-territorial-human-rights-obligations/

10 December 2014

The Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), is set to scrutinize Canada regarding its extra-territorial human rights obligations under the Covenant. Canada will appear before the Committee in July 2015 for its periodic review.

The Committee has made clear that the ICCPR includes extra-territorial obligations to respect and to ensure human rights, including by regulating and otherwise holding corporations accountable to those obligations for their activities abroad.

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights successfully intervened with a Parallel Report laying out the extra-territorial obligations under the ICCPR and requesting that the Committee include scrutiny on those obligations within the periodic review of Canada.

The List of Issues recently adopted by the Committee, which defines the scope of review, requires Canada to "inform the Committee of any measures taken or envisaged to monitor the human rights conduct of Canadian oil, mining, and gas companies operating abroad" and to "also inform what the available legal venues are in the State party for victims of human rights abuses arising from overseas operations of Canadian extractive firms."€ As the GI-ESCR Parallel Report makes clear, the jurisprudence of the Committee provides a clear articulation of the extra-territorial application of ICCPR obligations, including the legal obligation to regulated Canadian corporations to ensure that they do not violate human rights abroad, and the legal obligation to provide access to justice in the event of such violations.

The Global Initiative is now preparing a Parallel Report for the periodic review which will call on the Committee to hold Canada accountable for extra-territorial obligations in the context of Canadian corporations involved in building Israeli settlements in Palestine and extractive industries in Central America as well as for decisions made within international financial institutions such as the World Bank.

According to Bret Thiele, Co-Executive Director of the GI-ESCR, "This examination of Canada provides advocates the opportunity to address the issue of extra-territorial obligations and corporate accountability and provides the Committee the opportunity to further reaffirm that the ICCPR contains extra-territorial human rights obligations to which States parties must adhere."

The Global Initiative'€™s Parallel Report regarding the List of Issues can be found HERE - http://globalinitiative-escr.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/140527-GI-ESCR-Parallel-Report-HRC-Canada-2014-List-of-Issues.pdf

The List of Issues can be found HERE - http://globalinitiative-escr.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/List-of-Issues-Canada-2015.pdf

Bret Thiele, Co-Executive Director
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
8 North 2nd Ave. East, #208
Duluth, MN 55802
USA
Phone/Fax: +1 218 733 1370
Email: Bret[at]globalinitiative-escr.org
Website: www.globalinitiative-escr.org

 

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