MAC: Mines and Communities

Persecuted Peruvian farmers oppose meeting of ministers with mining giants

Published by MAC on 2003-09-16

Persecuted Peruvian farmers oppose meeting of ministers with mining giants

Media Release from

Friends of the Earth International (Netherlands)
Civil Association Labor (Peru)
Project Underground (USA)

16 September 2003

Peruvian communities denounce tomorrow´s gathering of mining ministers and the mining industry as an illegitimate forum to discuss its theme of sustainable development for the Andean region. The communities plan to march to the meeting in protest.

Ministers from South America´s largest gold producing countries including Bolivia and Peru, will meet with mining industry leaders like Newmont, BHP Billiton, and Anglo-American at the XXVI Mining Convention in Arequipa, Peru.

This comes at a time when Peruvian communities have yet to see the benefits of mining and continue to experience devastating environmental degradation and human rights violations as a result of the operations.

In recent years, the persecution of community leaders seen a steep rise. As recently as in July, four community leaders in Cajamarca were killed while defending their land´ said Miguel Palacin of CONACAMI, the country`s national organization of mine affected communities. ´The state should secure the rights of its citizens instead of protecting industry he added.

In a recent declaration, farmers called for the state of Peru to recognize their right to self determination. The declaration was drafted last week in Cajamarca, home to South America´s largest gold mine Yanacocha.

Recently, Newmont-owned Yanacocha was reported to employ police force as farmers denied the corporation entry to their land where it was attempting to tress pass. ´Newmont´s mining operations around the world have a long legacy of creating these types of conflicts´, commented Diana Ruiz of Project Underground. She added: ´Multinationals such as Newmont continue to a double standard to further its profits´.

The Yanacocha mine is heavily supported by the World Bank. The declaration states that the communities want to see and end to funding for such destructive mining operations.

`All over the world, people are calling for financial institutions to immediately withdraw from extractive industries´, commented Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International. She added ´The World Bank´s tax payer money has no place in practices that violate basic human rights.´

On September 17th, a large group of campesinos will descend upon Arequipa to voice concerns and their disagreement with the Mining Convention. ´Mining policies should not be discussed without the participation of the communities that will be affected´ said Gladys Marquez of Labor- Friends of the Earth Peru. She continued: `That is the only way to avoid conflict´.

For more information, contact:

Miguel Palacín, CONACAMI Peru, (51) 470 58 54, (Spanish)
Gladys Marquez, Labor Peru, (51) 961 15 40, (Spanish)
Janneke Bruil, Friends of the Earth International, (57) 310 309 0866, (Spanish and English)
Diana Ruiz, Project Underground, (Spanish and English)

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