Supporters of slain mining activist take case against Canada to international body

Canadian Press

Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Family and supporters of a Mexican activist who was killed after opposing a Canadian company's mining project are taking their case to an international human rights body.

The Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, a Canadian initiative by volunteer lawyers, is making a complaint to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the family of Mariano Abarca.

The complaint alleges that Canada failed to uphold its international human rights obligations by pressuring Mexican authorities to advance the mining project despite having knowledge about related threats to Abarca's life.

The activist's supporters have exhausted legal avenues in the Canadian courts.


As a member of the Organization of American States, Canada is bound to respect standards set by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Abarca's supporters say.

The complaint about Abarca's case asks the commission to conclude that Canada must make reparations for violating his rights to life, freedom of expression, association and due process under the law.

Jose Luis Abarca, Mariano's son, said in a statement released by Mining Watch Canada that Ottawa has refused to investigate whether Canadian officials "bear any responsibility for my father's murder."

"This case is important, not only for my family, but for all the other human rights and environmental defenders around the world who have the misfortune of catching the eye of Canadian mining interests."

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