Putaendo Resiste also expressed concerns about how Chilean authorities and the mining company are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to advance this project. In April, the government approved the environmental licence for a new round of drilling, “virtually” and behind the backs of citizens. When citizens took to the streets to peacefully express their rejection of this process, they were repressed by special police forces and the military.
“Canadian mining companies around the world are taking advantage of global lockdowns to quell long-standing opposition and protest and push unwanted projects through. Putaendo is an emblematic example of this scenario where companies and governments are using a global sanitary crisis to profit,” commented Kirsten Francescone, Latin America Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada.
The letters requested that the “Canadian government comply with its obligations to respect the principles outlined in the ‘Voices at Risk Guidelines to Protect Human Rights Defenders’ which allow embassies to “deny trade support in instances of abuses committed against human rights.”
“With this letter-writing campaign, we hope that the Canadian government listens to the concerns of the community, as well as their opposition, and withdraws economic and diplomatic support from Los Andes Copper’s Vizcachitas mining project in Chile,” said Rosa Peralta of the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL), a solidarity organization based in Montreal.
Those who sent letters have not received a response from the Canadian government.
“We hope the Canadian media does its own due diligence and investigates this recent case of human rights violations abroad by a Canadian mining company. The Los Vizcachitas project contravenes Resolution 64/292 of the United Nations which recognizes the human right to water and sanitation, and acknowledges that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights,” said Raul Burbano, Program Director for Common Frontiers, a national solidarity network based in Canada.
You can find a copy of the letter here.
- Rosa Peralta, CDHAL, [email protected], (English, Français, Español, Português)
- Kirsten Francescone, MiningWatch Canada, [email protected] (English, Español)
- Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers, [email protected] (English, Español)