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200 Latin American Groups Look to Stop Canadian Mining Abuses

  • A miner walks in the Parrilla silver mine in Durango state, Mexico, February 24, 2016.

    A miner walks in the Parrilla silver mine in Durango state, Mexico, February 24, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 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.

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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.”

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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.

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