From 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)