Mexico/Latin America: The TPP prosecutes Canadian mining companies

June 12, 2014

tpp-canadaFrom May 29 to June 1, the first meeting of the Peoples’ Permanent Tribunal (TPP) on the Canadian mining industry was held in Montreal (Canada). The TPP is a mechanism that was created in Italy in 1979. In the light of international laws on human rights violations, it examines cases that have exhausted traditional and national mechanisms.

In Latin America, more than 200 social conflicts can be attributed to mining industry. 75% of the mining companies in the world are Canadians. At the hearing, these companies were “accused of violating the fundamental rights of peoples in Latin America.” The Canadian government was criticized for “contributing (…) to the violation of indigenous peoples’ human rights in Latin America, by supporting the mining industry and favoring those companies in a context of impunity.” The TPP stressed that the Canadian government “tolerates or covers up violations of human rights perpetrated by these companies. “

In particular, five companies operating in Latin America, including Blackfire Exploration and Excellon Resources, have been prosecuted for their activities in Mexico.

The Tribunal found that the expansion of Canadian mining in Latin America has been favored both by Canada (using diplomatic pressure on the countries whose resources are exploited), as well as by the governments of those same countries (that facilitate investment and allow corruption and violations of human and environmental rights). Local authorities are accused of being accomplices “when they grant concessions and operating licenses without taking into account the impact that these activities may have on human rights,” and “when they increase the flexibility of their labor, environmental and tax regulations to promote the interests of mining companies,” responding to the “undue influence on the reform of the mining and environmental legislation” by the Canadian state.

The Tribunal noted that among the rights violated almost systematically by Canadian mining companies are found the following: the right to water, health, a healthy environment, the right to security and physical integrity, the right to self-determination, the right to participation, consultation and prior consent, the right to expression and protest, the right to fair and just working conditions, and freedom of association.

The TPP’s preliminary verdict stressed the responsibility of mining companies “for human rights violations (…), as well as the responsibility of the Canadian State and of countries where the natural resources are exploited by these companies because they haven’t prevented or have facilitated, tolerated and covered up such violations.  In practice, too, they have prevented victims’ access to justice for such violations. “

For more information (in Spanish):

Veredicto preliminar del TPP (1er de junio de 2014)

Piden justicia en Canadá por asesinato de Mariano Abarca (Chiapas Paralelo, 4 de junio de 2014)

Del total de conflictos mineros en América Latina, 90% son con empresas canadienses (La Jornada, 24 de mayo de 2014)

Empresas mineras al banquillo de los acusados por generar 200 conflictos sociales (Chiapas Paralelo, 23 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English)

Guerrero/Mexico/Latin America: Grave challenges to Goldcorp and other Canadian mining firms (May 3, 2014)

Guerrero: Ejidatarios from Carrizalillo to sue mining company before the Agrarian Tribunal (29 April 2014)


Chiapas: Presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso”

April 26, 2014

Presentación del informe en san Cristóbal de las Casas. Foto (@Sipaz)

Presentation of report in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Photo(@Sipaz)

Between 11 and 13 April was presented in San Cristóbal de las Casas and the Chicomuselo municipality the report “Justice for San José del Progreso,” the fruit of a Civil Mission of Observation held in November 2012 according to the call of the Oaxacan Collective in Defense of Land.

In the press-conference and activities of presentation for the report, organized by the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), were present Neftalí Reyes, member of the Oaxacan organization Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), which forms part of the Collective; Gustavo Castro, member of the Chiapas-based group Other Worlds A.C., and Roberto Ortiz, from the “Samuel Ruiz” Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life in Chicomuselo.

In the presentation, beyond presenting the results of the report and the specific case of San José del Progreso, a Oaxacan community that has suffered numerous rights-violations as a consequence of the imposition in the community of the mining project owned by Canadian firm Fortune Silver Mines, the case of Chicomuselo, Chiapas, was also raised, this being a site since 2008 where communities have been organizing against mining exploitation as overseen by the Canadian company Blackfire Exploration.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe sobre afectaciones mineras en Oaxaca se presenta en San Cristóbal (Radio Zapatista, 12 de abril de 2014)

Minera canadiense y gobierno violan DH de habitantes en San José del Progreso, Oaxaca (Chiapas Paralelo, 12 de abril de 2014)

Justicia para San José del Progreso; Informe de la Misión Civil de Observación (Koman Ilel, 14 de abril de 2014)

Audios (Radio Zapatista):

Gustavo Castro (Otros Mundos Chiapas) – Contexto de la minería en México

Neftalí Reyes (Servicios para una Educación Alternativa – EDUCA) – Sobre el caso de San José del Progreso, Oaxaca

Roberto Ortiz (Comité para la Promoción y Defensa de la Vida en Chicomuselo “Samuel Ruiz”) – Sobre el caso de Chicomuselo, Chiapas

Informe: Misión Civil de Observación: Justicia para San José del Progreso

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation in San Cristóbal de Las Casas of report “Justice for San José del Progreso” (23 April 2014)

Oaxaca: presentation of report “Justice for San José del Progreso” (16 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Organizational call to the presentation of the Report of the Civil Mission of Observation: Justice para San José del Progreso (18 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Civil Observation Mission to San José del Progreso (30 November 2012)


Chiapas: Denunciation of illegal reactivation of mining operations in Chicomuselo

February 5, 2014


Foro antiminería en Chicomuselo, sept 2012 @ Foto de archivo (SIPAZ)

Civil organizations denounced that on 19 January six heavy-machinery trucks arrived to Chicomuselo and then headed to the Santa María ejido, where the barite mine La Pera is located, having been closed months ago by the Federal Prosecutorial Office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) for having violated environmental standards.  The organizations added that to date, six trucks have left the mining site full of barite, despite the fact that they are “working the mine illegally.”  For this reason they call on state and federal authorities to suspend the work, affirming that “the companies which exploit minerals in the zone have delineated a new strategy: to foment mining cooperatives” and to convince ejidatarios to take on this form, so as to authorize the entry into the communities of their exploration and exploitation operations.

To avoid the possibility that the residents perceive the presence of the vehicles and come to protest the mines, the trucks are not passing through the main street of Chicomuselo itself, which was closed by the anti-mining movement led by Mariano Abarca, assassinated in November 2009 during his struggle against the Canadian mining firm Blackfire.

For more information (in Spanish):

Reinician actividades en las minas de Chicomuselo (Otros Mundos Chiapas, 24 de enero de 2014)

Empresas mineras reanudaron ilegalmente trabajos en Chiapas (La Jornada, 24 de enero de 2014)

Reactivan, de manera ilegal, extracción minera en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 25 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Denunciation of renewal of mining activities in Chicomuselo (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Second Forum “For the Defense of Our Mother Earth and Land; Yes to Life, No to Mining Devastation” (21 September 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)


Chiapas: Mobilization of 56 communities in Tapachula against mines and dams

December 17, 2013

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On 10 December, 56 communities, ejidos, and organizations from the Tapachula, Motozintla, Huehuetán, Cacahoatán, Mazapa, Comalapa, Chicomuselo, and Tuzantán municipalities marched in Tapachula to declare their lands free of mining and dam megaprojects.  They demanded that the three levels of government respect their decision and demanded that they be provided with information regarding the advances and intentions on the part of any firm or governmental institution to intervene in the region to begin mining operations.

Through the Declaration on Rivers and Lands Free of Dams and Mining Exploitation in the Southern Madre Sierra and Coastal Plan of Chiapas, the groups affirmed that “we declare our rivers and lands free of mining exploitation and hydroelectric dams, and we declare the corresponding authorities responsible for whatever conflict arises due to the continuation of intentions to impose these looting projects.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Declaración de ríos y territorios libres de represas y explotación minera de la sierra madre y llanura costera de Chiapas (10 de diciembre de 2013)

Municipios de Chiapas se manifiestan contra represas y mineras (Chiapas Paralelo, 11 de diciembre de 2013)

56 comunidades de 17 municipios de Chiapas se declaran libres de minería y represas (Centro de Medios Libres, 10 de diciembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: International socio-environmental seminar, the Open Veins of Contemporary Chiapas (12 November 2013)


Chiapas: Denunciation of renewal of mining activities in Chicomuselo

August 21, 2013

(@chacatorex)

In a communique published on 12 August, the Committee for the Promotion and Defense of Life Samuel Ruiz García reported that residents of the Monte Sinaí ejido, Chicomuselo municipality, had denounced the offers of workers from the Montecristo mining firm, which had promised “social projects such as roads and clinics, in addition to their commitment not to pollute the environment of local communities.”  The Human Rights Committee reminded “the different levels of government that since 14 May 2009, these communities have decided by majority not to allow the entrance of mining firms which seek to destroy their lands and put the lives of local residents at risk.  Furthermore, they have expressed that they would defend their lands, even if that costs them their lives.”  The Committee warned that “for this reason, the presence of miners in the communities is a provocation for these communities, which may lead to a major conflict.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado del Comité para la Promoción y defensa de la Vida “Samuel Ruíz García” (12 de agosto)

Rechazan pobladores de Chicomuselo, Chiapas, proyectos mineros en la zona (La Jornada, 15 de agosto de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Second Forum “For the Defense of Our Mother Earth and Land; Yes to Life, No to Mining Devastation” (21 September 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)

Chiapas: Death-threats directed against the Chicomuselo parish (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone(13 October 2010)

Chiapas: Canadian delegation investigates mining abuses (2 April 2010)

Chiapas: Anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca killed (1 December 2009)

 


Chiapas: Self-defense brigades against looting by mining corporations

March 5, 2013

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On 26 February, campesinos and indigenous persons pertaining to 78 ejidos from 11 municipalities of the Sierra and Coast of Chiapas founded a “Civil Guard for Self-Defense” toward the end of putting a halt to the looting undertaken by mining firms in the state.  During a meeting celebrated in the El Carrizal community (Motozintla municipality), at which participated more than 2000 campesinos, it was agreed that the Civil Guards will be comprised by groups of 20 persons who will patrol zones to prevent the operation of mining firms and to arrest any transport vehicle in said zone.  They indicated that they saw themselves as obligated to opt for this route in light of the indifference of the local and federal authorities and their outright collaboration with the companies that loot and pollute the state.

The 78 communities that participated are located in the Bella Vista, Bejucal de Ocampo, La Grandeza, Mazapa de Madero, Escuintla, Acacoyagua, Siltepec, Frontera Comalapa, El Porvenir, and Chicomuselo municipalities.

The next day, the Chiapas state-government expressed its rejection of the operation of armed self-defense groups in the state, clarifying that the development has to do with civil ecologists who have been protesting mineral exploitation for more than five years in municipalities such as Chicomuselo: “They have nothing to do with the civil armed groups that have arisen in other states, because in Chiapas security and social peace are guaranteed by the institutions of local public security and the federal security forces present in the state.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Campesinos crean en Chiapas ‘guardias civiles’ para frenar a mineras (Proceso, 26 de febrero de 2013)

Amagan con más autodefensas, ahora en Chiapas (El Universal, 26 de febrero de 2013)

Chiapas descarta presencia de autodefensa armada (El Universal, 27 de febrero de 2013)

Aparecen grupos de autodefensa en Chiapas (Animal Político, 27 de febrero de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: two thousand march at the close of the “Chiapan Meeting of Unity against the Extractive Mining Model” in Frontera Comalapa (7 December 2012)

Chiapas: Second Forum “For the Defense of Our Mother Earth and Land; Yes to Life, No to Mining Devastation” (21 September 2012)

Mexico: “Mined land, the defense of the rights of communities and of the environment” (14 December 2011)

Chiapas: Death-threats directed against the Chicomuselo parish (13 October 2010)

Chiapas: the Peace Network presents report on Chiapas’ border zone(13 October 2010)

Chiapas: Canadian delegation investigates mining abuses (2 April 2010)

Chiapas: Anti-mining activist Mariano Abarca killed (1 December 2009)


Chiapas: protests in several municipalities against the taking of office by new commissioners

October 12, 2012

Motozintla (@chacatorex.com.mx)

On Sunday 30 September, the mayors who were elected on 1 July were to take office, though this transition did not occur without incident in Motozintla, Chicomuselo, Bejucal de Ocampo, Frontera Comalapa, Mazapa de Madero, Villacorzo, Cintalapa, Tila, and Las Rosas.

The situation of violence took place in the Motozintla municipality where sympathizers of the PRD-PT-Citizens Movement coalition set fire to public buildings (including the City Hall and prison), beyond attacking patrols to protest the failure of the Electoral Tribunal of Judicial Power, which ruled in favor of Oscar Galindo (PVEM).  They also released 80 prisoners from the jail, although 40 of these were subsequently recaptured, many of them of their own volition.  The Chiapas state-government detained 31 persons after the disturbances.  Milenio journalists denounced on their part that they were attacked by 10 state police after taking photos of the burning city hall in Motozintla, as of other buildings.

In the nearby municipality of Chicomuselo, where the Trife handed victory to the PVEM candidate when the Institute for Elections and Citizen Participation in Chiapas had already recognized the victory of the PRD candidate, another patrol was set alight.  The mayor was kidnapped by sympathizers of the PRD candidate.  In Frontera Comalapa and Bejucal de Ocampo the mayors were also taken forcibly by left-wing militants.

In San Fernando, PRI militants kidnapped the mayor to protest against the mayor-elect (PVEM), whom they accuse of pertaining to a family that has been in power from one election to the next.  These militants were met with tear gas.

On the Petalcingo highway, a roadblock was maintained, and PRI members set fire to the home of Limberg Gutiérrez, the father of the mayor-elect of Tila, Limberg Gregorio Gutiérrez Gómez (PVEM), who is to take power from his wife, Sandra Luz Cruz Espinosa.

Another series of conflicts and blockaders occurred to protest the exiting administrations.  In Villacorzo, the mayor was taken in a home together with some of her assistants by municipal workers who demand that their wages and benefits be paid.  In Tapachula, the PAN official Karla Selene de la Cruz denounced that she was assaulted by the secretary of city hall, following her demand that her salaries in arrears be paid.  On 28 September, indigenous persons from San Juan Chamula blockaded the highway between San Cristóbal de las Casas and Tuxtla Gutiérrez to demand the payment of debt in their municipality, as well as the ending of different work-projects.  Municipal and transit police as well the Civil Protection force of Teopisca went on strike, blockading the highway between San Cristóbal de las Casas and Comitán for eight hours, to protest their not being paid.

For more information (in Spanish):

Opositores a edil electo de Motozintla provocan incendios y liberan presos (La Jornada, 2 de octubre de 2012)

Presidencia en ruinas (Cuarto Poder, 2 de octubre de 2012)
Chiapas: queman alcaldía y 2 patrullas por conflicto electoral en Motozintla (la Jornada, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Conflicto poselectoral en Chiapas: toman alcaldías, queman patrullas y liberan a reos (Proceso, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Recapturan a 40 reos liberados en Motozintla (El Universal, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Al menos 31 detenidos por disturbios: secretario de Gobierno de Chiapas (Milenio, 1ero de octubre de 2012)

Chiapas: incendian casa del padre de edil electo (La Jornada, 30 de septiembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: elections in Chiapas; PRI-Green Alliance wins (10 July 2012)


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