MAC: Mines and Communities

Conacami Takes A Stand In Huancabamba, Backing The Communities And Organizations In The Piura Region

Published by MAC on 2006-03-15

CONACAMI Takes A Stand in Huancabamba, backing the Communities and Organizations in the Piura Region

by Lima, Perú

15th March 2006

Directive Council, CONACAMI Peru

The National Confederation of Communities Affected by Mining in Peru, in response to the events which occured in the Forum "Mining, Agriculture and Sustainable Development" on March 12 in the city of Huancabamba (Region of Piura), supported by social organizations of that province, states the following:

* For over four years now, the prevailing tranquility of the communities in the Provinces of Ayabaca and Huancabamba has been interrupted by the presence of mining company Minera Majaz (Monterrico Metals Plc <, who, without permission of the communities of Segunda and Cajas (Huancabamba) and Yanta (Ayabaca), has been seizing communal lands in order to carry out mining "exploration" with the consent of the Peruvian State.

* The conflicts which have emerged in these communal lands are based in the deliberate ignorance of the demands of the campesinos. The response of the company and the State authorities in the face of these conflicts has been criminal indictments, persecution and defamation against the leaders of community organizations. To this day there have been over 140 leaders indicted, two protesters killed and a permanent state of hostility against the Church, the local governments, as well as against the local leaders of the Rondas Campesinas, Frente de Defensa and human rights and environmental organizations, through the media which defends the company Minera Majaz and the transnational Monterrico Metals.

* Minera Majaz, in collaboration with the National Police, has consistantly made incursions into the popular centers and assemblies of affected communities in their desire to provoke confrontations and later persecute leaders. This is what happened in the community of Portuchelo in the month of February.

* This, as well, happened on March 12, when a forum entitled "Mining, Agriculture and Sustainable Development" was carried out in the city of Huancabamba. A group of approximately 300 persons lead by the Director of Social Matters for the Project Río Blanco of mining company Minera Majaz, Raúl Urbina, and journalist Duber Mauriola, entered violently into the site of the event, provoking a confrontation with the participants, and attacked the speakers of the forum. Eventually they were turned back and forced out of the location by forum participants, but the confrontation left many injured, among them Vincente Zapata of the Development Front of Tambogrande.

* CONACAMI Peru condemns these acts of provocation and the state of permanent confrontation instigated by the company Minera Mjaz. We call on all authorities committed to the supervision of this mining project to take action in regards to this matter.

* We urge the District Attorney of Huancabamba, Dr. Fiscal Feliz Toledo, to denounce these acts of violence with the same swiftness that he has shown in denouncing, in many instances, the campesinos who have demanded the respect of their rights and have defended their environment.

* We are in solidarity with the struggle led by the people of Huancabamba, Ayabaca, Jaén, San Ignacio and other towns in Perú who are defending their rights against the negative impacts of mining projects which, instead of bringing peace, security and development, carry out the plunder of their lands, contaminate their water and natural resources, affecting the health and life of the people, adding to a situation of abandonment and poverty, with a indolent government which only supports multinational corporations.

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