For Immediate Release
On International Human Rights Day, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal releases its final decision
December 10, 2014
Ottawa and Montreal – A guilty verdict resulting from the first session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) on the Canadian mining industry in Latin America was published today in English, French and Spanish. Following two days of testimony in Montreal this past May, the PPT jury determined that five Canadian mining companies and the Government of Canada were responsible for multiple cases of human rights violations. These include labour rights violations, denial of indigenous self-determination rights, environmental destruction, targeted assassinations and criminalization of dissent, among others.
“The testimonies demonstrated the complicity and responsibility of various branches of the federal government, including its diplomatic corps and its overseas aid branch,” deplores Maude Barlow, water activist, chairperson of the Council of Canadians and member of the PPT jury. “Through its actions and omissions, the government supports an unacceptable situation that is causing environmental and social devastation within communities in numerous Latin American countries.” Oscar Morales, affected by the Escobal mine in Guatemala and witness during the hearing, adds that “the current pattern of criminalization and repression of social protest, visible in Guatemala and other countries of Latin America, is aggravated by recent legal reforms in the region aimed at silencing opponents, perpetuating impunity of human rights violations”.
Today, the jury also published a series of recommendations to all responsible parties, including host countries, the Canadian government and specific companies. “The process of reparation needs to include a variety of steps including an immediate halt to activities that cause or reinforce harm, the acknowledgement of damages caused and the creation of laws or mechanisms to avoid their repetition,” adds Gianni Tognoni, secretary-general of the PPT in Italy. “International Human Rights Day is an important moment to remind us all that mining activities are a major cause of human rights abuses in the Americas. The witnesses at the hearing clearly argued that these cases are not isolated events, but part of a generalized context of grave impacts on health, life, the environment and civic participation of affected communities, in particular for Indigenous women,” declared Viviane Michel, President of Quebec Native Women (QNW) and member of the PPT jury.
On International Human Rights Day, groups in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver will deliver the verdict to responsible entities, including the headquarters of companies and offices of federal government agencies named in the decision. The verdict will also be sent to all political parties and Members of Parliament, as well as relevant UN bodies. The PPT is an opinion tribunal that chose to hold a session in Canada in order to highlight the devastating impacts and impunity of the Canadian mining industry.
Media contacts – firstname.lastname@example.org :
- Daniel Cayley-Daoust
- Claire Doran
- Marie-Ève Marleau
This first Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal hearing to take place in Canada focused on Canadian mining in Latin America. The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is an international initiative of the Lelio Basso Foundation, an Italian foundation that aims to promote the recognition and application of international law related to Indigenous and human rights. This is the first in a series of hearings expected to take place in Canada.
Canada is a principal actor in the global extractive sectors. Of the world’s mining companies, 75% are headquartered in Canada. In 2013, nearly 1,500 mining projects in Latin America were led by mining companies that were registered on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX and TSX-V). Furthermore, the McGill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America (MICLA) and the Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America (OCMAL) have identified nearly 90 social conflicts involving Canadian companies in Latin America.
List of members of the jury: Mireille Fanon-Mendès-France (Frantz-Fanon Foundation, France), Maude Barlow (The Council of Canadians, Canada), Nicole Kirouac (Lawyer, Quebec), Gérald Larose (Professor and labour activist, Quebec), Viviane Michel (Quebec Native Women, Innu Nation), Javier Mujica Petit (Expert in human rights, Peru), Antoni Pigrau Solé (Professor of international law, Spain), and Gianni Tognoni (Lelio Basso Foundation, Italy)
List of entities that were named as responsible for human rights violations by the Tribunal:the Government of Canada (through the acts and omissions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development – DFATD, Export and Development Canada – EDC, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board – CPPIB), five Canadian mining companies (Excellon Resources, Blackfire Exploration, Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources), and host states (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Chile). www.tppcanada.org
An international Peoples’ Tribunal to examine the actions of the Canadian Mining Industry and the Canadian Government
Witnesses from Latin America will testify on human rights violations and environmental damages
For immediate release
Montreal, May 29th, 2014. From May 29th to June 1st a session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal will be held in Montreal. An international jury will analyze declarations of more than 20 experts and witnesses linked to accusations of rights violations and environmental damages perpetrated by Canadian mining companies and involving the Canadian government in Latin America, more precisely in Chili, in Colombia, in Guatemala, in Honduras, and in Mexico.
Gianni Tognoni, secretary of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, based in Italy, explains that in “over three decades of activities, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal has supported around forty peoples’ struggles against violations of their fundamental rights. We believe it is crucial today to bring light upon the activities of the Canadian mining industry in Latin America”.“Canada is currently the most important actor of the international mining industry: the hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal is taking place at the right moment for us to examine the role of our government in this development, which is the cause of many conflicts”, according to Claire Doran, co-spokesperson of the event. Maude Barlow, member of the jury and president of the Canadians’ Council is “concerned by the impacts of mining projects on water, notably in the case of open pit mines using chemical products to extract minerals, especially in areas where local communities have difficult access to water”.
“Mining projects in the Americas are mostly taking place on indigenous territory. Our peoples, and our women in particular, are often the first to be affected by the impacts of mining activities on health, the environment and food security”, says Viviane Michel, president of Quebec Native Women. “The Pascua Lama mine represents a threat to my people. I am in Canada to condemn the lack of respect that companies such as Barrick Gold and Goldcorp show towards our right to consent as indigenous people and the lack of consideration toward our lifestyles, our community decision taking processes and decisions”, adds Sergio Campusano, president of the Diaguita Huascualtino community in Chile.
- An evening of presentations on May 29th will open the tribunal.
- The members of the jury will hear testimonies on May 30th and 31st.
- The final judgement is to be delivered June 1st.
The complete program of the tribunal, biographies of witnesses, experts, spokespersons and prosecutors, as well as jury members’ are available online.
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Source: Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal – Canada
The government of Canada and Canadian mining companies on trial
PRESS RELEASE For immediate release
MONTREAL, May 21th, 2014. From May 29th to June 1st, the first hearing of the of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Canadian mining industry will take place in Montréal, during which about 15 witnesses and experts from Latin America will denounce human rights violations and environmental damage caused by Canadian mining companies, with whom the Canadian government is involved.
This will be the 40th session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), an institution founded in Italy in 1979 by lawyer and senator Lelio Basso. It is the first session of the PPT to take place in Canada.
Canada is the most important player in the global mining industry. Due to its favourable laws, fiscal and foreign policy,75% of mining companies worldwide are headquartered in Canada and 60% of global mining companies are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Large-scale mining projects are a major cause of tension: in Latin America, there are currently 200 mining-related social conflicts, with approximately 90 involving Canadian companies.
The Tribunal will examine the role and responsibility of mining companies and the Canadian government in the violation of human and environmental rights in Latin America through the emblematic cases of Pascua Lama (Barrick Gold) in Chile-Argentina; Escobal (Tahoe Resources) in Guatemala; San Martin (Goldcorp) in Honduras; Payback (Blackfire Exploration) and La Platosa (Excellon Resources) in Mexico.
Several public activities will be held during the Tribunal.
- Thursday, May 29th, 2014 – 6:00-9:00pm. Launch of the Tribunal and opening conference, Adams Auditorium, McGill University.
- Friday, May 30th, 2014- 9:00am-5:00pm. Hearing on human rights violations and socio-environmental impacts of Canadian mining activities in Latin America. Comité d’éducation aux adultes de la Petite-Bourgogne et de St-Henri (CEDA), 2515 Delisle.
- Saturday, May 31st, 2014 – 9:00am-5:00pm. Hearing on Canada’s role and responsibilityin the global mining industry’s violations. CEDA.Sunday, June 1st, 2014, 10:00am-5:00pm. Reading of the verdict following jury delibarations. CEDA.
The preliminary program of the hearing on Latin America and the prosecution sent to corresponding institutions are available online. Other cultural and educational events will also be organized around the Tribunal.
About 40 organizations from different sectors in Québec and Canada support this event, including labour unions; academic research groups; environmental, human rights, feminist, indigenous, migrant and international solidarity organizations[i].
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