Latin American organisations call for Canadian mining accountabilityPublished by MAC on 2016-04-25
Source: Statement (2016-04-25)
Development and Peace, and MiningWatch Canada, have put out a news releas, declaring their support for a letter from 180 Latin American organizations to PM Trudeau.
The letter is available in four languages, with the English language version available here.
Latin American organizations hope for stronger accountability of Canadian mining overseas
25 April 2016
Montreal - Development and Peace and Mining Watch Canada are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to give special attention to an open letter from close to 200 Latin American and international organizations urging for sweeping change to Canada’s foreign policy regarding the global mining sector.
“Several of the signatory organizations are partner organizations of Development and Peace whose work in the field has been directly affected by Canadian mining,” says Mary Durran, Latin America program officer at Development and Peace. “We support their demands for improved oversight by Ottawa of Canadian companies in their overseas operations.”
Human rights, legal, environmental, Indigenous and farmer organizations with direct experience in mining conflicts in Latin America signed the letter. They welcome the Prime Minister’s gestures of support for Indigenous and human rights, while raising concern about Canadian mining from Mexico to Argentina.
“Under prior administrations,” the letter observes, “Canada’s human rights performance deteriorated considerably, not only in the eyes of the international community, but also from the perspective of the individuals, peoples and communities that live with the negative impacts of Canadian extractive projects.”
They express hope for change based on past support from Liberal Members of Parliament – including the Prime Minister - “towards the adoption of a legislative framework that would hold state agencies and companies to account for abuses related to Canadian mining companies’ overseas operations.”
“Over the past few years, Hondurans have suffered negative impacts of Canadian mining, including pollution of our environment and of our water supplies by heavy metals, and communities’ rights to free, prior and informed consent have been ignored,” said Pedro Landa, a Honduran activist whose Jesuit-run organization, Fundacion ERIC is a signatory of the letter.
“A response to this letter is urgently needed from the Canadian government, given heightened repression of mining-affected communities in the region defending their land, water and wellbeing,” says Jen Moore, Latin America Coordinator for MiningWatch. “Not only are Latin organizations insisting on accountability for harms, but that harms be prevented in the first place.”
Among the recommendations set out in the letter are:
· Respect for the rights of Indigenous communities to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent before any mining activities happen on their territories, as well as respect for non-Indigenous communities saying no to mining;
· An end to Canadian government support, whether through aid, trade, technical assistance or diplomacy, that seek to influence the adoption or modification of regulatory frameworks in recipient countries for extractive projects;
· The incorporation of international human rights and transparency standards in the regulation of credit agencies and public and private investment in extractive activities and safeguards on companies that receive state subsidies;
· A guarantee of effective access to Canadian courts so that victims of violations caused by Canadian business abroad can obtain justice, truth, and reparations;
· The creation of objective and impartial means to effectively monitor and investigate complaints of abuses in connection with Canadian mining companies abroad; and
· A halt to the pursuit of free trade and investment agreements that favor Canadian mining companies over people and the environment, in particular an end to investor-state international arbitration mechanisms, which foreign investors use to protect their investments and evade regulation or accountability for abuses.
In addition to being sent to the Prime Minister, the letter will be delivered to Canadian embassies in affected countries. The open letter to the Prime Minister is available in:
For more information please contact:
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
514 257-8711 ext. 365
200 Latin American Groups Look to Stop Canadian Mining Abuses
25 April 2016
Latin American organizations aim to highlight violations and abuses of Canadian mining operations to Prime Minister Trudeau.
Over 200 Latin American organizations are calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for greater accountability in Canadian mining operations overseas.
The organizations have written a letter to the leader and two organizations based in Canada, Development and Peace and MiningWatch Canada, are urging him to pay special attention to it.
“Several of the signatory organizations are partner organizations of Development and Peace whose work in the field has been directly affected by Canadian mining,” said Mary Durran, Latin America program officer at Development and Peace, in the statement released by MiningWatch Canada.
Human rights, legal, environmental, Indigenous and farmer organizations that have directly experienced the affects of mining conflicts in Latin America are among those that have signed the letter.
The letter is premised on the hope for change garnered from what past Liberal politicians, including the prime minister, have said. Trudeau has promised ”the adoption of a legislative framework that would hold state agencies and companies to account for abuses related to Canadian mining companies’ overseas operations.”
The statement includes the concerns of a Honduran activist, Pedro Landa, whose organization Fundacion ERIC, signed the letter.
“Over the past few years, Hondurans have suffered the negative impacts of Canadian mining, including pollution of our environment and of our water supplies by heavy metals, and communities’ rights to free, prior and informed consent have been ignored,” Landa said.
The nine recommendations outlined by the organizations include respect for Indigenous communities and their right to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent for any mining activities that happen on their territories; guaranteed access to Canadian courts so victims of violations for Canadian mining abroad can obtain justice; and the assurance that Canadian mining companies in Latin America conform to international human rights standards established in treaties.