Mexican Network of Mining Affected People Tries to Extract a Response from Trudeau

October 12, 2017 | By admin | Filed in: MexicoHuman RightsIndigenous Rights.

On the eve of Prime Minister Trudeau’s first official visit to
Mexico, the Mexican Network of Mining Affected People (REMA by
its initials in Spanish) has issued a communiqué to call
on Prime Minister Trudeau to live up to his commitments and
stop the devastation of Indigenous and campesino communities
that has enabled Canadian mining companies to make big profits.
Canadian investment in Mexico – the principal destination
abroad for Canadian mining investment after the U.S. – is
expanding
precisely in the most deadly places
for anyone to get by on
a daily basis, let alone speak out in defence of their land and
wellbeing. As the future of the North American Free Trade
Agreement is uncertain and Trudeau seeks to shore up a
bilateral relationship with Mexico, its time to put
words into action and answer for lives and livelihoods
destroyed or at risk around Canadian mine sites. 

Our English translation of the original communiqué
follows. 


Canadian mining is dispossessing Indigenous peoples and
campesino communities in Mexico

On the occasion of Justin Trudeau’s state visit to
Mexico, the Mexican Network of Mining Affected People urges
Canadian mining company invasion of Mexico to stop and
withdraw 

October 11, 2017

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has presented himself
on the international stage as a democrat, a supporter of human
rights and freedoms, and committed to fulfilling the UN
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Although on
this latter point it is important to mention that the
government has taken a weak position, limiting its support
for the declaration within the scope of the Canadian
constitution,
[1]
which is not minor, particularly if Canada continues
to refuse to ratify Convention 169 of the International
Labour Organization and fails to respect the self-determination
of Indigenous peoples in practice.

Trudeau’s visit to our country has been announced as an
opportunity to strengthen commercial ties between Mexico and
Canada, which is bad news for those peoples and
communities who have been seriously affected by Canadian mining
activities. Today, Canada has become the biggest source of
foreign investment in mining around the world and in
Mexico, to such an extent that 65% of foreign mining companies
in Mexico are listed in Canada. For Canada, Mexico
has become the second most important destination for
Canadian mining investment abroad, after the U.S., such that
11.3% of Canadian mining assets are in Mexico.

The power that Canadian mining wields in Latin America has been
openly and arbitrarily promoted by Canada’s entire diplomatic
corp along the lines of its ‘economic diplomacy’ policy
through its embassies. Like good colonialists, they continue to
propagate racism and hatred toward Indigenous peoples
and campesino communities when they encourage mining
investment in an area such as Guerrero [2]
– where there is tremendous Canadian mining investment -, and
then issue alerts to Canadian tourists to avoid traveling to
the same place,
[3]
given the violence and risks that people live with
there.

The political and financial weight of Canadian mining companies
and the government is a reality that has been used to influence
the promotion of constitutional reforms, laws and
regulations in the extractive sector to help facilitate foreign
investment, as well as to weaken and deny redress for harms,
tax payments, or any other condition that might affect
company profits.

In Mexico, this has led to an unconstitutional legal framework
that violates human rights because, among other things, it
gives mining priority above all over activities, which
despite being undertaken pretty much exclusively by private
companies is also considered in the public interest. This has
meant dispossession and forced displacement of legitimate
landowners, who when they try to defend their rights, these are
denied by the very same companies or through
the structures of illegal armed groups or in collusion
with diverse actors in the Mexican government.

Health harms, environmental contamination and destruction,
criminalization of social protest, threats, harassment, smear
campaigns, surveillance, arbitrary detentions and the
assassination of defenders are the formula for progress and
development that Canadian mining investment has brought to our
country. To counteract its brutality, in the media and
among the spheres of power, companies gloat about their
corporate social responsibility, clean industry certification
or safe cyanide use, or their adherence to absurd
standards of “conflict free gold” that are supported and
certified by organizations largely created by the very
same corporate sector. To substantiate claims of
dispossession, pillage, displacement and violence caused by
Canadian mining companies, it is enough to visit
the communities of Carrizalillo
[4]
and Nuevo Balsas
[5]
in Guerrero, Chalchihuites [6]
and Mazapil
[7]
in Zacatecas, the northern highlands of Puebla,

[8]
Tetlama in Morelos,
[9]
or Sierrita de Galeana in Durango, [10]
as well as Chicomuselo, Chiapas,
[11]
where Mariano Abarca was murdered for his opposition
to a Canadian mining company, prior to which the Canadian
embassy in Mexico was alerted to the risks he faced as they
monitored the conflict.

The abuses of Canadian mining companies have been ongoing,
repeated, and have violated human rights such as rights to
territory, property, a safe environment, participation,
consultation and consent, lawfulness and legal security. For
example, we have seen the same company (Goldcorp)
break the law repeatedly by purchasing collectively owned
lands, first in Carrizalillo, Guerrero and then, three
years later, in Mazapil, Zacatecas. Today in Mexico,
Canadian companies are operating 65% or over 850 mining
projects at different stages from exploration through to
construction and extraction.

It is important to mention, Mr. Justin Trudeau, that the only
thing that mining investment from your country has ensured for
us is dispossession and the risk that thousands and
thousands of communities and persons could lose their culture
and identity as a result of destruction of their territory; the
arrival of organized crime (whether or not companies are
signed up to the bombastic conflict-free gold standard); as
well as the escalation of violence, repression and
criminalization of those who defend their territories and
life.

In this context, REMA calls on the Canadian government to stop
institutional and political support provided through your
diplomatic apparatus to enable private Canadian companies
to accumulate profits through dispossession. We also demand
that you stop promoting policies and weak laws that legalize
the activities of these mining companies, among them
voluntary codes of conduct known as Corporate Social
Responsibility, in place of mandatory compliance.
Instead, corporate accountability is urgently needed to
put a stop to the ongoing atrocities and illegalities that
violate the human rights of Indigenous peoples
and campesino communities.

In addition, beyond the positive accounts of the business
sectors and government officials in defence of the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it is important to
mention that this pact has only helped to legalize
dispossession, enabling more wealth to be accumulated by
already wealthy sectors, as well as the gradual
displacement of both products and local economies to stimulate
a new form of accumulation and control, an increase in the
deregulation of land ownership and dilution of protections
over the public interest and public good, further enabling
private pillage. In sum, the principal objective of
NAFTA has been to disappear the countryside and campesino
farmers.

Finally, Mr. Trudeau, we would like to remind you that well
over a year ago, on April 26, 2016, various organizations
including ours sent you a letter
[12]
in which we requested you to kindly bring your
attention to the context of human rights violations of Canadian
companies in Mexico and Latin America, just shortly after
you had assumed your mandate as Prime Minister when you
committed yourself and your party to support human rights. To
date, we have never received a response to this letter,
nor seen any concrete actions to better protect human rights.

Canadian mining investment is destroying our
country

Canadian mining companies violate human rights

We will fight for territories free of mining!

Mexican Network of Mining Affected People (REMA)


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