TAHOE (Cdn.): Guatemalans' Lawsuit - UPDATES

TAHOE (Cdn.): Guatemalans' Lawsuit - UPDATES

Postby Oscar » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:58 pm

Communities call for closure of Escobal mine

[ https://mailchi.mp/miningwatch/guatemal ... ae06c0567b ]

Guatemalan Communities Deliver Message of Resistance to New CEO of Tahoe Resources


August 16, 2018

On Tuesday, members of the Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa together with the Xinka People’s Parliament of Guatemala delivered the following letter to the attention of Tahoe Resources' new CEO, James Voorhees, and Executive Chair, Kevin McArthur. They call for an end to the environmental harms, community division, militarization and repression that the project has brought into their lives, and demand that Tahoe Resources permanently close the mine.

TAKE ACTION to join them in calling for the closure of the Escobal mine
[ https://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/dia/a ... &okay=true
]

The community members presented the letter to representatives of Tahoe Resources at its office in Guatemala and was simultaneously delivered to Tahoe’s headquarters in Reno, Nevada by members of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) on behalf of the signatories.

The company's subsidiary "Minera San Rafael" released a statement shortly after stating that they "remain open to dialogue and active listening to any concern that leaders have regarding their operations" in order to "build bridges" and "continue to work together in peace". If the company is truly listening, however, it is vitally important that it pay attention to what the communities are expressing with with the letter: that the opportunity for dialogue ended when the mine was forced on them against their will and that they are looking for mine closure not coexistence.

Support the communities in sending a clear message by taking action here.
[ https://org.salsalabs.com/o/676/p/dia/a ... &okay=true ]


***

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF LETTER DELIVERED


Mr. Kevin McArthur, Executive Chair Mr. James Voorhees, President & Chief Executive Officer, Director Tahoe Resources Inc.

Dear Sirs:

Since 2011, our communities have been actively demonstrating peaceful resistance to Tahoe Resources’ Escobal mine given the actual and potential impacts on our way life, water, land, and livelihoods. We held marches, organized 18 village and municipal referenda and filed more than 200 individual complaints against the exploitation permit before it was granted in April 2013. But you didn’t listen.

Instead, you pushed ahead with the project, despite broad and clear opposition to mining in our territory. Your insistence, and the tactics used to impose the project, brought an end to the peace and tranquility we enjoyed. As a result, we have suffered divisions within families and communities. We have endured criminalization and militarization, like what took place during the state of siege in May 2013. Community members have been assassinated, jailed without grounds for months on end, attacked, surveilled, threatened, and intimidated. We have also suffered damage to homes and impacts on our water and agricultural livelihoods.

Since June 2017, thousands of people from the three departments of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa have organized to set up a 24-hour, 7-day a week encampment in the municipality of Casillas to prevent mine related traffic from reaching the mine. The participants are demanding the permanent closure of the Escobal project.

In November 2017, we went to Guatemala City and began a second ongoing encampment at the entrance to the Constitutional Court, in protest of the court’s failure to issue a ruling within the designated time frame regarding the suspension of the mine for discrimination and failure to consult with Xinka Indigenous people.

Let us be clear: Our opposition to mining in our territory and the future of the Escobal mine specifically does not depend on the outcome of the legal case currently before the Constitutional Court.

Our encampment in Casillas and peaceful resistance in the region will continue until the mine is permanently closed. We have already held our own processes of consultation in which the vast majority of people in the affected area have said no to mining. We will not change our minds. The time for dialogue was before Tahoe forced the mine on us in 2011. Now, all we want is closure.

Sincerely,

Peaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Jutiapa
Xinka People’s Parliament of Guatemala

"Original letter in Spanish"


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Re: TAHOE: Guatemalans send message to new CEO

Postby Oscar » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:58 am

Plaintiffs Conclude Lawsuit with Pan American Silver over 2013 Shooting in Guatemala, Communities Reaffirm Opposition to the Escobal Mine and Warn of Rising Tensions

[ https://mailchi.mp/miningwatch/plaintif ... ae06c0567b ]

July 31, 2019

(Guatemala City, Ottawa, Washington D.C.) -- On Tuesday, lawyers representing four Guatemalan members of the peaceful resistance to the Escobal mine announced the conclusion of the precedent-setting lawsuit against Tahoe Resources, recently acquired by Pan American Silver. The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, accused Tahoe of negligence and battery after the company’s security forces fired on peaceful protesters outside the mine in 2013. Now, the plaintiffs, and the broader resistance movement, celebrate a victory: a Canadian parent company has taken responsibility for violence at a mining project abroad. However, communities warn of growing tensions that could lead to further aggressions against peaceful protestors.

The case against Tahoe Resources set an important precedent in Canada, establishing that Canadian courts are the preferred forum when Canadian companies commit human rights violations, except in cases where the foreign tribunal has clearly proven capable of providing justice more efficiently. The lawyers note that the conclusion of this case will not affect ongoing criminal proceedings in Guatemala against Tahoe’s former head of security, Alberto Rotondo. Rotondo escaped house arrest in 2015, and fled to his native Peru, where extradition processes are underway. Nor does it affect the ongoing court-ordered consultation process with the Xinka people.

Representatives from the Xinka Parliament of Guatemala and five municipalities in the area affected by the project gathered at a press conference with the plaintiffs and their lawyers in Guatemala City on Tuesday to express their support for the four men involved in the case.

“Thanks to these men’s bravery, the company has taken responsibility for the violence in April 2013,” said Emy Gomez, Coordinator of the Xinka Parliament. “This is just one of numerous grave incidents that have occurred as a result of the imposition of this project on our communities. Throughout the legal process, the plaintiffs remained front and center in the resistance, despite the risks. Together with them, we will continue resisting the Escobal project that has robbed us of peace in our communities and that puts our territory, water and health at great risk.”

The Escobal mine has been suspended since June 2017, first as a result of the ongoing, 24-hour peaceful encampments that prevent mine-related traffic from reaching the site, as well as by the July 2017 court order mandating the Ministry of Energy and Mines to consult with Xinka people living around the mine. Since the consultation process was announced in September 2018, the Xinka Parliament with support from municipalities in the area has been denouncing irregularities and illegalities in the process. They have also been speaking out about rising tensions as a result of a new wave of defamation, intimidation and threats.

“The settlement is an important victory for the plaintiffs who brought this case at great personal risk and sacrifice, and for the tens of thousands of people who continue to peacefully oppose the Escobal silver mine,” said Lisa Rankin, coordinator for the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network. “However, the conflict on the ground surrounding this project is far from over, and leaders participating in the resistance and consultation continue to face grave threats.” Since 2010, more than 100 people involved in the peaceful resistance have faced legal persecution. Days after the 2013 shooting, a month-long state of siege was imposed in the region and military outposts put in place in order to quash the local referenda and protests against the mine. More than five residents active in the resistance movement have been murdered.

Since the court ordered the consultation with Xinka Indigenous people, members of the resistance have suffered a sharp increase in threats, including acts of provocation, criminalization, and defamation by armed groups and individuals aligned with the project. Earlier this month the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures for the Xinka Parliament lawyer, Quelvin Jiménez, noting that the Escobal mine’s suspension and the consultation process have increased tension and hostility in the region, leading to death threats against Jiménez.

“The rising tensions, proliferation of threats, and acts of provocation and intimidation are making us feel like we are back in 2013,” Jiménez said. “Now as then, this is a result of this mining project being forced on our communities against our will and right to self-determination.”

“Taking responsibility for the shooting in 2013 is important, but it doesn't address the underlying reasons why people opposed this project in the first place,” said Ellen Moore, International Mining Campaigner at Earthworks. “What would be truly commendable is if Pan American Silver would respect communities' demands and stop trying to restart a risky project that doesn't have social license to operate.”

Contacts:

•Guatemala: Lisa Rankin, btscoordinator@gmail.com, +11 502-4906-5626 (WhatsApp)
•Canada: Kirsten Francescone, kirsten@miningwatch.ca, (437)-345-9881
•US: Ellen Moore, emoore@earthworks.org, (202)-887-1872 x128
•Jennifer Moore, jenmooreips@gmail.com
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