(Vancouver) After a year in which every major human rights body has called for the suspension of the Marlin mine in Guatemala, on Wednesday Goldcorp asked its shareholders to trust its judgment instead. Six percent of shareholders voted in favour of a resolution presented at the company’s Annual General Meeting that would bring Goldcorp into compliance with international law, including an order by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued in May 2010.
Goldcorp CEO, Charles Jeannes, defended his company, citing its support for a new measure to regulate consultation of indigenous peoples in Guatemala.
“Indigenous organizations in Guatemala have roundly condemned the proposed administrative decree to regulate consultation,” comments Benito Morales, attorney with the Rigoberto Menchú Tum Foundation in Guatemala City, who attended the AGM today. “The government has put forward the decree to ensure that mining is able to continue in the face of over 50 local plebiscites in which roughly a million people have voted against mining in the Guatemalan countryside.”
Jeannes also referred to the company’s plans to implement recommendations from a human rights assessment it commissioned, and a new human rights policy that the company adopted in October 2010.
“What is your human rights policy worth if you disregard the findings of international human rights bodies?” asks François Guindon with the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, NISGUA.
“Goldcorp said that it will no longer report on its implementation of recommendations from the human rights assessment,” remarks Wyanne Sandler of the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network. “Also, many of the most important recommendations have not been implemented, such as posting a sufficient financial guarantee to ensure adequate funds for mine closure.”
Vice President of Corporate Affairs David Deisley argued against voluntary implementation of the IACHR recommendations, saying that affected communities or civil society organizations concerned about Goldcorp’s operations should enter into dialogue with the company.
“Dialogue requires trust,” says Jen Moore, the Latin America Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada, “but when the company is actively lobbying against the implementation of recommendations of human rights bodies, while ignoring the results of independent scientific studies that provide evidence of serious impacts on water supplies and local health, that trust has not been earned.”
“It is just as important to comply with international law as it is to comply with tax law,” said Kris Genovese, Senior Attorney with the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington D.C. “This case could not be any clearer. The mine must be suspended.”
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- Jennifer Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, tel: 613-569-3439, jen(@)miningwatch.ca
- Kris Genovese, Senior Attorney, Center for International Environmental Law, tel: 604-220-4009, kgenovese(@)ciel.org
The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is committed to strengthening and using international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy in the global public interest, including through legal counsel, policy research, analysis, education, training and capacity building.
MiningWatch Canada is a pan-Canadian initiative supported by environmental, social justice, Aboriginal and labour organizations from across the country. It addresses the urgent need for a coordinated public interest response to the threats to public health, water and air quality, fish and wildlife habitat and community interests posed by irresponsible mineral policies and practices in Canada and around the world.