HUDBAY: Human Rights, Record of Violence

HUDBAY: Human Rights, Record of Violence

Postby Oscar » Sat May 05, 2018 4:39 pm

Confronting Hudbay Minerals at their Annual Shareholder Meeting

[ https://canadians.org/blog/confronting- ... er-meeting ]

May 4, 2018 - 5:02 pm

Yesterday, I attended Hudbay Minerals' Annual General Meeting of shareholders to confront the company about their terrible track record of violence at their present and former mines in Canada, the US, Guatemala, and Peru. Here is a transcript of what I said:

"Let's take a brief look at each of Hudbay’s current and former operations.

At the Rosemont mine in Arizona just two weeks ago the Tohono O’odham Nation, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Hopi Tribe all launched a lawsuit alleging that the mine is going to deprive tribal members of ancestral praying grounds, destroy a critical part of their heritage including burial grounds and stop members from engaging in important cultural practices and religious traditions. And this is just one of several lawsuits launched against this mining project.

In Manitoba there have been ongoing conflicts with Indigenous people surrounding the Lalor project. The Mathias Colomb Cree Nation on whose territory this mine sits maintains that Hudbay has not obtained their consent to operate. The chief in fact issued stop work orders on 2 occasions, and band members held peaceful gatherings at the mine site with drumming and ceremonies. Hudbay’s response was to obtain injunctions against the whole First nation and launch a lawsuit against their chief. So this in fact criminalized the MCCN people who live off of the land and prevented them from hunting and fishing on their land.

In Peru at the Constancia mine there have been major protests involving thousands of people since the project started denouncing a lack of consultation, lack of transparency, the environmental impact, and that Hudbay has been breaking promises made to communities. The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in the zone that includes the Constancia project in order to quash resistance to mining. So communities there are now asking how Hudbay can justify operating in a militarized area where civil liberties have been suspended.

And regarding Hudbay’s former operations in Guatemala, the Fenix Project, there are three lawsuits proceeding in Canadian courts, not to mention ongoing trials in Guatemala, holding Hudbay accountable for gang rapes of eleven women during illegal evictions, the murder of Adolfo Ich, a community leader resisting the project, and the shooting of another person, German Chub. And just two weeks ago, Hector Manuel Choc Cuz, an 18 year old in that community of El Estor, was beaten to death. This is the nephew of one of the claimants in this case, Angelica Choc, whose husband was murdered by Hudbay’s employed security.

On your website it says “Productive, mutually respectful relations with First Nations are a priority for Hudbay.” Given the examples I listed, which are just some of the serious conflicts and harms that Hudbay has caused with Indigenous people at every single one of your mine sites, how can you maintain that relationships with indigenous people are a priority?”

The CEO, Alan Hair, was visibly taken aback. This was his response:

“That was quite the question. You obviously present a certain view. I would suggest that Hudbay would put forward completely different points of view. I don’t know if it is particularly worthwhile discussing it in detail today. I assume you believe your perspective on it. I certainly believe my perspective on what Hudbay’s performance has been, how we carry out our business, how we’re recognized by a number of stakeholders as being perhaps if not the best in class certainly up there. We could extend into the merits of mining and Canadian mining companies. That’s a very extensive debate and I don’t intend to enter into that debate here. But I am confident that we as a company and certainly under my watch have carried out our business appropriately and tried to engage constructively where we have people opposed to mining. And the reality is not everybody supports mining. And it’s unfortunate because on this planet if it’s not growing it has to be mined, and it has to be mined somewhere. I can cite examples of other mining companies that maybe don’t perform as well as Hudbay, in other parts of the world. And maybe you have to ask yourself when you look at your usage of metals and the like who you want to be developing those mines. Do you want companies like Hudbay that respect human rights, that try to engage constructively with communities, that do follow all the legal processes to operate the mines or would you be happier with companies that maybe use child labour or the equivalent of blood diamonds for copper. I think you might have to ask yourself that question. I’ve already rambled on long enough so I’m just going to draw a line under it.”

Thanks to the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network [ https://mininginjustice.org/ ] and MiningWatch Canada [ https://miningwatch.ca/categories/compa ... y-minerals ] for supporting this small interruption to Hudbay's AGM.

For more on our work in solidarity with communities impacted by Hudbay Minerals' operations see here:
[ https://canadians.org/search/node/hudbay ]


Rachel Small's blog
Ontario-Quebec-Nunavut Regional Organizing Assistant
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/rachel-small ]
Oscar
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Re: HUDBAY: Human Rights, Record of Violence

Postby Oscar » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:16 pm

HudBay Operations in Peru and Guatemala: Violence and Repression Found to Result from Mining Company Contracts with State Security Forces

[ https://mailchi.mp/miningwatch/hudbay-o ... ae06c0567b ]

November 29, 2019

Yesterday, the Peruvian organization Human Rights Without Borders-Cusco (DHSF, from its initials in Spanish) [ https://www.facebook.com/derechossinfronteras.pe/ ] presented the findings of its report “Mining Impacts Invisibilized: A view from the ground on HudBay’s Constancia Project” in Santo Tomás, Chumbivilcas province, where the Constancia mine is located.

At the same time, HudBay Minerals’ responsibility in the 2007 rape of eleven Maya Q’eqchi women as a result of a paid relationship between the company and Guatemalan military and police was at the centre of a hearing in an Ontario courtroom just a few weeks ago. DHSF’s report documents on the Constancia open pit copper mine demonstrates that the use of public force has been privatized through the company's agreement with the police force, wherein 20 police officers are assigned to provide protection, surveillance, security, and custody within the facilities and the ‘area of ​​influence’ of the project. The privatization of police forces for mining purposes was found to result in greater social conflict, greater social and territorial control, and the criminalization of protest and international solidarity to facilitate the operations of the mining company.

DHSF finds that although the company promised that the mine would generate wealth for local communities, raising expectations among the communities in the region, the mine has exacerbated inequality and eroded the social fabric. This has generated tension and conflict within and between the communities closest to the mine, which manifests itself in protests against the company's activities at any moment, as happened in April 2019. The authors note that the mining operations of have given rise to a “permanent scenario of tension, dispute, conflict and negotiation over the environmental impacts, negotiation and renegotiation of economic contributions, and failures to comply with agreements.”

Instead of economic prosperity and wealth, the cost of living and inequality have been on the rise, while the company has deepened its control over communities and their lands, obtaining mining concessions at exponential rates. According to the report, the company has more than doubled the area it holds title to from 22,516 hectares in 2010 to 58,996 hectares. This corresponds to 67%, 47% and 83% of the territories of the districts of Chamaca, Livitaca and Velille, respectively. The report shows that the majority of the population of the three districts continues to depend on these lands for agriculture and livestock, despite promises of employment by the mining company. The expansion of the company in these regions has created tension and conflict as community members struggle to negotiate with the company, or in many cases, after having sold their land, they cannot make ends meet due to the high cost of living.

As in Guatemala, there are serious concerns over security and freedom of association among residents in Peru, as well as concerns about collusion between public authorities, state security forces, and the company. In Peru, mining companies are allowed to sign security contracts directly with the Peruvian National Police (PNP). A 2019 report by EarthRights International, the Institute for Legal Defence, and Peru’s National Human Rights Coordinator, found that these contracts “compromise the impartiality and independence of the PNP to favour the rights of extractive companies over indigenous peoples and communities,” and that their existence “creates a hostile scenario that puts human rights, territorial and environmental defenders at risk.” A recent article by the Institute for Political Studies argues that the law that allows the privatization of police services is “just one example of how the law has been turned against Indigenous peoples and mining-affected communities in Peru and elsewhere, making fighting mega-projects an ever more dangerous vocation.”

The DHSF report notes that HudBay’s a contract with the police provides the context in which tensions between communities and the company are constantly managed, manipulated, controlled and repressed, either explicitly through criminalization and repression, or implicitly through “community relations” of the company that strengthen the surveillance, stigmatization, and delegitimization of local opposition, human rights organizations and defenders, while creating public relations “distractions”.

Such is the case with the continuous criminalization of leaders and human rights defenders around the Constancia mine. According to the report, the conflicts around the company's activities in Chamaca in 2013 resulted in 4 leaders facing ongoing legal proceedings, and in 2016, in Velille, 6 leaders were charged with property damage for their role in protests.

The reports also details how the police acted without impartiality and in favour of the company in 2017, when both DSHF and the Lima-based NGO CooperAcción were monitored, slandered and persecuted along with the then-coordinator of MiningWatch Canada’s Latin American program, Jen Moore, and investigative journalist John Dougherty, for presenting screenings of Dougherty's film “Flin Flon Flim Flam”. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7aacPtEI8s ] The film documents the impacts of HudBay’s operations throughout the Americas, including the Constancia mine. Moore and Dougherty were arrested by police officers, many in plain clothes in the city centre of Cusco and questioned for several hours before being released.

The Peruvian Interior Ministry clearly demonstrated the political nature of this persecution when it published a statement mere hours after the arrest, accusing the two of violating the terms of their tourist visas and inciting communities to violence, stating that they were a threat to public order, while explicitly noting that HudBay had all the necessary permits to operate its mine. In October, a Lima court confirmed that these violations were the result of HudBay's contract with the police, which had led the police and Peruvian authorities to act with a bias towards the interest of the company, and that Moore and Dougherty had been wrongly charged and sanctioned.

DHSF also points out that this environment of social control, and increased inequality and conflict “contrasts sharply with the company's code of ethics for respect and relations with rural communities and local populations.”

In both the Peruvian and Guatemalan cases, the private use of public police and military forces serves as part of a general strategy of social and territorial control to protect corporate interests.

The full report in Spanish can be found here.

Background on HudBay’s ongoing lawsuit in Toronto

On November 8, 2019 an Ontario Court heard a motion from 11 Maya Q’eqchi’ women from Guatemala to amend the Statement of Claim in their ongoing lawsuit against Hudbay Minerals to provide further clarification and details regarding the deep involvement of Skye Resources Inc. (now part of Hudbay Minerals) in the violent eviction of their community on January 17, 2007 that lead to the rape of the plaintiffs by the men conducting the eviction.

According to an update circulated by Rights Action, “HudBay Minerals/Skye Resources’ corporate officers were fully aware of many of the most serious underlying issues in Guatemala – endemic repression and violence, racism, and corruption and impunity – and that they chose to plan and coordinate directly with the Guatemalan military and police, and their own security guards (many being former military and police) to violently remove the Q’eqchi’ inhabitants from their lands, knowing that there were serious risks of violence and repression and knowing that there were unaddressed underlying legal questions as to the validity of Hudbay/Skye claims to the lands in question.”

The testimonies and amendments presented this Friday will help to demonstrate that the company:

- paid large undercover monetary payments to the Guatemalan police and military for their service in the forcible evictions;
- worked extremely closely with the Guatemalan police and military as an integral part of an overall team in preparation for the forcible eviction;
- took a highly aggressive and confrontational strategy in dealing with the land conflict with the Plaintiffs’ Q’eqchi’ community in remote Guatemala;
- proceeded with evictions that involved use of force despite knowing that Guatemalan police and military had a record of violence and abuse at evictions;
- acted closely with the police and military in the evictions themselves as an integral part of what amounted to a de facto military operation.

See a full background of the ongoing court case here: Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (liability for gang-rape, murder, shooting-maiming) public court hearing: November 8, 2019, Toronto [ https://mailchi.mp/rightsaction/hudbay- ... ts-hearing ]


Press Contacts:

Angela Choc, one of the plaintiffs in the Guatemala case, available for interviews via Grahame Russell (Rights Action), grahame@rightsaction.org
Jose Antonio Romero, lead investigator on the report, Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras, antonioromero99@yahoo.com
Jen Moore,Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Project, jen@ips-dc.org
Kirsten Francescone, MiningWatch Canada, kirsten@miningwatch.ca (for assistance setting up interviews, or translation)
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