Friday, June 6, 2014

Canada's Mining responsible for violating human rights of communities in Latin America

An increasing problem...

Crecientemente, el "inocente" país de Canadá, ha ido tomando el papel del encargado de llevar adelante los convenios e inversiones mineros mayores en América latina. Estos han tomado dimensiones enormes y son la causa del inmenso daño en derechos humanos, inequidad y represión contra los pueblos indígenas de la región. Sus fuentes de agua y de productividad agrícola se destruyen. Canadá ha sido un país tardío en reconocer el Convenio 169 de la OIT para con los pueblos indígenas y nada hace nada por respetarlo. Los pueblos sufren y el gobierno canadiense se niega a promulgar leyes éticas en relación a las inversiones canadienses. Incluso, se asocia con la represión que favorece a esas empresas. En Guatemala y América Central denuncian estas actividades y posturas  antidemocráticas.


For Life and Water"
Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, Montreal, Canada
Canada responsible for violating rights of communities in Latin America

Paula Correa: Published by University of Chile Radio and Electronic Newspaper
Thursday June 5, 2014 - 19:16 hrs.  (A Google's translation, edited by J Venturelli)

The City of Montreal, site of the meeting conveyed by the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, received Diaguitas Communities (Chilean Northern First Nations) and the Observatorio Ciudadano (NGO Chilean Organization for Human Rights Studies and First Nations’ Protection). Both attended to demand for a definitive statement condemning harmful practices of the Barrick Gold company in our country and to urge the governments of Chile and Canada to adopt regulatory and punitive measures. This is not the only instance where Canada is targeted as it is found today as responsible for an important part of environmental conflicts in our continent.
At the sitting of the Tribunal 40th violation complaint, which included, specifically, the right to water and the right to self-determination, where those affected are members of the Diaguita Community, the Huascoaltinos. (About 700 kms north of Santiago, in the Andean mountains NT: JV)

Attorney Nancy Yanez, of the Citizen's Observatory, said Barrick Gold has violated the political and territorial rights of the community and currently does not have the consent of the legitimate owners of the land for the project implementation, directly affecting their main resource.
Briefly explained that regarding the waters, the evidence given is that the Mining Pascua Lama project has affected water sources, specifically the glaciers, and has not met the management plan regulations appearing as noted by the environmental authority.  A process of particles matter accumulation, which practically indicate that mineral is is a process of extinction, even before the starting of the exploitation of the mineral.

Also, in this case, acid drainage is occurring going into the water of the river that feeds directly into the River of the Estrecho (Strait) which provides agricultural water to the Valle del Transito (Valley Transit) where the community lives, an they get as well as the water used for consumption. "The situation is particularly serious," he said, saying that they expect the governments of Chile and Canada will not continue referring to these matters as "the responsibility of private citizens".
"This is not the first time Canada comes to the Inter-American Commission, last year a number of social organizations in different countries of the continent presented a Thematic Hearing: Pascua Lama was a paradigmatic example, showing the behaviour that Canadians companies are having in Latin America".

At that time attended also the Latin American Observatory for Environmental Conflicts (OLCA). Its Director, Lucio Cuenca, spoke about the improper work done by companies coming from that country (Canada). "A lot of conflicts are recorded in Latin America product of the Mega Minería (Mega Mining Projects) expansion that has occurred in the past two decades. He continues, given the high investments levels being advertised, and where conflicts with the communities occur with different countries, 90 percent of them are with Canadian companies, "he said and explained that these companies operate in our countries backed by the Canadian State, which provides political incentives for companies to go to other locations".

This time, at the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal other countries exposed their cases: Guatemala, Argentina, Honduras and Mexico, all countries in which they operate for several years: the entity identified in its preliminary verdict, Canadian Industries are in systematic violation of Human Rights as they pertain to the right to life, food, health, water, housing, freedom and integrity of persons, security and a healthy and protected environment.

He further argued that "the State of Canada has responsibility, as it has facilitated, tolerated or covered up such faults as well as to prevent the victims to access protection from these violations".

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