The government of Canada and Canadian mining companies on trial
MONTRÉAL–From May 29th to June 1st, the first hearing 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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[i] Alternatives; Association des juristes progressistes; Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI); Blue Planet Project; Canada Save Rosia; Canadian Religious Conference (CRC); Centre International de Solidarité Ouvrière (CISO); Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ); Centre de recherche en éducation et formation relatives à l’environnement et à l’écocitoyenneté (Centr’ERE), UQÀM; Cercle des Premières Nations de l’UQAM; Chaire Nycole Turmel sur les espaces publics et les innovations politiques, UQAM; Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine; Comité UQAM-Amérique latine; Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL); Common Frontiers; Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN); Council of Canadians; Dignidad Migrante; Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ); Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC); Justice transnationales extractives (JUSTE); Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network’s (LACSN); L’Entraide missionnaire; Ligue des droits et libertés; Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Solidarity Network; McGill Research Group Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America (MICLA), McGill University; Mer et Monde; Mexican@s Unid@s por la Regularizacion; Mining Injustice Solidarity Network; Mining Watch Canada; Nobel Women’s Initiative; Observatoire des Amériques, UQÀM; Polaris Institute; Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie (PASC); Projet Accompagnement Québec Guatemala (PAQG); Québec Coalition on Socio-Environmental Impacts of Transnational Corporations in Latin America (QUISETAL); Quebec Native Women (FAQ-QNW); Réseau œcuménique justice et paix (ROJeP); Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE); Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale (RQIC); Rights Action; Solidarité Laurentides Amérique centrale (SLAM); Solidarity with Native People; Temporary Foreign Workers Association (TFWA); Watch and Act: Romanians and North-Americans for the Environment and Democracy; International Women Alliance; Women of Diverse Origins.