Petition to close the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID)

Cute Mask

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Mining Justice (EVENT)

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/261373707396632/

Mining Justice Richmond Campus

University students across the Lower Mainland have mobilized in opposition to the University-Mining Industry nexus. What will you do? KPIRG is in KPU Richmond to host a panel on Mining Justice, featuring the UBC-SFU initiative, Stop the Institute. Get informed and involved.

Richmond Campus, Conference Centre, Side A

WHEN: Thursday September 18 at 1:00pm

WHERE: Kwantlen Polytechnic University; Conference Centre Side A, Richmond Campus (8771 Lansdowne Rd., Richmond BC)

More details to follow.

Dis/Orientation Days events will be held on the traditional and unceded territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Stó:lō, Tsawwassen, Musqueam and Semiahmoo First Nations.

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Crude Conversation (EVENT)

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/261373707396632/

Crude Conversation

Are pipelines criss-crossing your mind? KPIRG is in Langley to host an interactive panel discussion on oil pipeline development, featuring keynote speaker, Sundance Chief Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, community organizer AJ Klein, and speakers from the Pipe Up Network and Beat the Pipelines.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 9 at 1:00pm – 4:00pm

WHERE: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langley Campus (Room L2575)

More info to follow.

Dis/Orientation Days events will be held on the traditional and unceded territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Stó:lō, Tsawwassen, Musqueam and Semiahmoo First Nations.

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Grrr. Wildlife falls prey to our insatiable need for natural resources

This piece by Cara MacKenna at Rabble.ca discusses how Canada’s weak environmental laws prevent wildlife response teams from doing their job in the wake of disasters such as the Mount Polley spill.

Mount Polley - Canadian Press Jonathan Hayward

(Photo credit: The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

Despite suspected ongoing impact to animals where the Mount Polley Mine breached several weeks ago, professional wildlife response teams can’t get in to assess the area.

It is believed that chemicals still in the environment from the spill — which released millions of cubic metres of potentially toxic waste into central B.C. waterways — could impact millions of birds, among other animals in the area.

Exasperated responders say it is just a piece of a much larger problem that will only grow with the economy’s reliance on natural resource development: wildlife has zero protection under Canadian environmental legislation.

“There’s no regulation, there’s no laws, we can’t even get in the door to see what’s happened to the wildlife,” said Oiled Wildlife Society vice-president Coleen Doucette, who has been working to establish globally recognized standards in wildlife response for over 20 years.

“I don’t think the Canadian public is necessarily aware of this.”

The B.C. Ministry of Environment said in a statement that wildlife responders aren’t allowed into the area around the mine breach because there is still an unstable plug at the base of Polley Lake. Until it is dealt with, “no one can safety set foot in the debris flow area because of the danger of another release.”

“It is believed there are minimal implications to the wildlife population in the area,” the statement said, adding that wildlife biologists will eventually be allowed in. To read the full article, click here.

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Hudbay Minerals: Stop the Harassment in Guatemala Concerning Mining Related Criminal and Civil Lawsuits (Rights Action)

(Below: A letter to Hudbay Minerals and CGN concerning harassment in Guatemala of German Chub related to civil lawsuits in Canada and a criminal trial in Guatemala. The letter is written by Graham Russell of Rights Action. For more information and to find out how you can take action, visit Right’s Action.org.)

Hudbay

(German Chub in Toronto, with Klippensteins lawyer Cory Wanless and Maria Cuc Choc. Photo credit: Rights Action.)

On July 22, 2014, a Guatemalan Judge ruled that Mynor Padilla – former Army Colonel and former head of security for Hudbay Minerals/CGN – could not get out of jail on bail, as requested by Padilla’s lawyers, pending his criminal trial for the murder of Adolfo Ich, the shooting-paralyzing of German Chub, and the shooting-injuring of seven other people. Rights Action believes this was the proper decision to what had likely been an improper petition on behalf of Padilla to get out of jail.

On August 11, 2014, two people showed up uninvited at the tiny home of German Chub, along a muddy track, on the edge of the town of El Estor. They explained that they were there on behalf of Mynor Padilla and could German meet with the lawyers of Padilla to discuss what it would take for German to stop participating in the Guatemalan criminal trial, as a victim-witness, and to stop participating in the precedent setting “Hudbay Minerals/CGN” lawsuits in Canada as a plaintiff-victim? On August 16, 2014, two different people showed up again uninvited at German’s home, to continue with the same message on behalf of Mynor Padilla.

These are not the first times that German has received what, in Guatemala, are threatening and highly inappropriate visits from people representing the accused Mynor Padilla. (Mynor Padilla is the accused in the Guatemalan criminal trials; Padilla’s former employers Hudbay Minerals and CGN (Guatemalan Nickel Company) are the defendants in the civil lawsuits in Canada.)

On March 28, 2014, a man and woman came to German’s, telling him they were there on behalf of the lawyers for Mynor Padilla, urging German to drop the lawsuits in Guatemala and Canada, stating that Mynor Padilla was willing to offer him Q11,000,000 to do so. On March 29, 2014, other local people phoned German’s brother and told him to bring German to a meeting. That night, they met in a home in El Estor with people who apparently have employment with CGN. They repeated the same offer of money from Mynor Padilla in exchange for abandoning the legal actions in Guatemala and Canada, but were more aggressive in their manner.

(None of any of the above has ever been put in writing. No one formally presented themselves by name, and no one else was present, beyond German and some family members. Offering or attempting to pay a complainant to withdraw accusations in a criminal lawsuit is a criminal offence both in Canada and in Guatemala.)

In April 2014, Rights Action sent a letter to Hudbay Minerals and CGN, denouncing these uninvited, threatening visits, asking them to take all measures to ensure that they had nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with these visits. We heard nothing back.

The Lawsuits

In Guatemala, there is a long-delayed but on-going criminal case against Mynor Padilla, former head of security of Hudbay/CGN (owned by Hudbay 2008-2011), for the murder of Adolfo Ich on September 27, 2009, the shooting-paralyzing of German Chub that same day, and the shooting-wounding of other local men that same day.

In Canada, there are three over-lapping, now precedent setting civil lawsuits against Hudbay and CGN (the “Hudbay Lawsuits”) for the killing of Adolfo Ich, the shooting-paralyzing of German Chub, and the 2007 gang-rapes of 11 women from the village of Lote 8.

Presently, CGN is embroiled in another very complicated legal investigation related to the suspected murder of three Guatemalan university students, in early 2012, on CGN property, by people allegedly employed by CGN at that time. The students were participating in a formal University del Valle de Guatemala – CGN biology exchange program that had been going on for years, including when Hudbay owned CGN. While this suspected murder of the three students occurred after Hudbay had sold CGN to a Cyprus based company, the Solway Group, many of the CGN people – management and employees – were the same as when Hudbay was the owner and in control.

Why Threatening? Who Is Mynor Padilla?

German Chub feels threatened by these repetitive, uninvited visits. Long before the violent events of September 27, 2009, Mynor Padilla was well known the region as a former Colonel in the Army and as head of security for Hudbay/CGN. In the context of historical and on-going militarism and repression, racism and impunity in Guatemala, Padilla has been known and feared as a powerful man in the El Estor region. When people arrive uninvited at your home, saying they represent the accused Mynor Padilla, no one in the El Estor region – let alone, an impoverished, physically very vulnerable and indigenous man like German – can ignore the implicit threat.

On-going Relationship Between Mynor Padilla and Hudbay Minerals/CGN

It is possible that Hudbay and/or CGN continue to maintain direct or indirect connections to Mynor Padilla. Padilla remained on the Hudbay/CGN payroll for at least three years after the September 27, 2009, repression and violence, even as he was in flagrant violation of the law, avoiding detention and arrest for the criminal charges. It is rumoured that Padilla has remained on the CGN payroll since September 2012. Moreover, some of Padilla’s lawyers have represented CGN and worked for Hudbay. Carlos Rafael Pellecer Lopez represented both Padilla and CGN in Guatemala, and was a witness of Hudbay and CGN in the civil lawsuits in Canada.

Patterns of Pressuring and Harassing the Victims/ Witnesses/ Plaintiffs

This is not the first time inappropriate pressures have been brought to bear on victims-plaintiffs in the Hudbay/CGN Lawsuits. On August 21, 2013, Rights Action sent a letter to Hudbay and CGN, denouncing similar harassing communications and pressures against the women plaintiffs from Lote 8. In November 2013 and March 2014, Klippensteins Barristers and Solicitors sent letters to various offices of the Guatemalan government, addressing these issues related to their clients, the women of Lote 8. There has been no response from Hudbay and CGN to Rights Action’s letter.

German’s Precarious Health Situation

It is close to 5 years since the shooting of German left him close to death, paralyzed from the chest down. He lost the use of one of his lungs; the bullet remains lodged precariously close to his spinal column. Since September 27, 2009, when he was shot by Mynor Padilla, then head of security for Hudbay/CGN, German has suffered on-going pain, mental and physical therapy and rehabilitation, all the while trying to re-build his impoverished life.

German has not received any financial support or compensation, neither from Hudbay, CGN nor the Guatemalan or Canadian governments. I believe that Rights Action, with funds from North American donors, is the only organization to provide German with on-going relief funds to address some of his most pressing short-term health needs. Even as he was receiving the harassing visits on August 11 and 16, German was extremely sick; he remains in unstable conditions and needs more x-rays to determine if the bullet lodged near his spinal column, has moved, and he needs x-rays of his remaining healthy lung to see if there is infection.

Holding Hudbay and CGN Responsible

While there is no doubt in my mind that Hudbay and CGN should be held accountable for the harms and violations they caused (some of which are being dealt with in the criminal and civil lawsuits), and that fair reparations should be paid to German and the others who suffered enormously and continue to do so, I understand that Hudbay and CGN have the right to defend themselves in court. However, Hudbay and CGN have the responsibility to ensure that no one directly or indirectly associated with their companies is, in any way, pressuring or otherwise interfering in any way against any people, plaintiffs or otherwise, involved in the Guatemalan and Canadian lawsuits.

Questions for Hudbay/CGN

Do either of your companies have any knowledge of, or role in the efforts by Mynor Padilla to pressure any of the victims/ witnesses/ plaintiffs to stop their participation in the criminal trial or the civil lawsuits? Is Mynor Padilla still on CGN’s payroll and is CGN and/or Hudbay paying for Padilla’s legal fees in his criminal trial in Guatemala?

***

We hold Hudbay and CGN accountable to take steps necessary to prevent any undue interference, tampering, or direct harassment or repression against German Chub and all victims/ witnesses/ plaintiffs in the civil lawsuits in Canada and the criminal lawsuit in Guatemala.

Grahame Russell
Rights Action

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Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot’in Fight for Tezten Bay/Fish Lake (EVENT)

Blue Gold

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The Miners Next Door (Haiti Support Group)

haiti support group

The Haiti Support Group‘s Haiti Briefing no. 77 is out now. Entitled “The Miners Next Door”, this edition examines the current state of mining in Haiti, the role of global mining corporations in taking advantage of local mining codes and the interest of foreign investors in exploiting Haiti’s natural resources. We also speak to local groups who have opposed the close circles within the Haitian mining industry and who tell us of the struggles and threats they are currently facing.

Haiti’s mining sector is the latest phase of a well-known economic cycle, where US and Canadian companies secure lucrative deals for much less than they are worth, leaving little to show for it but cleared land, disappointed hopes or worse. People who live in these areas are often unaware of the explorations taking place or indeed the impact that such operations could have on their lives and natural resources.

To read the HSG’s Haiti Briefing no. 77, please click here.

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