For immediate release: March 28, 2011
Toronto, Canada and El Estor, Guatemala:
Rosa Elbira Coc Ich and ten other indigenous Mayan Q'eqchi' women filed a lawsuit Monday against Canadian mining companies HMI Nickel, and its corporate owner, HudBay Minerals, regarding mining-related gang-rapes suffered by them near a Canadian-owned mining site in Guatemala.
On January 17, 2007, the eleven women were gang-raped by mining company security personnel, police and military during the forceful expulsion of Mayan Q'eqchi' families from their farms and homes in the community of "Lote Ocho". These armed evictions were sought by HMI Nickel in relation to its Fenix mining project, located on the north shores of Lake Izabal, Guatemala.
News broke last week that the U.S. government purposefully exposed hundreds of men in Guatemala to syphilis in ghoulish medical experiments conducted during the late 1940s. As soon as the story got out, President Barack Obama phoned President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala to apologize. Colom called the experiments "an incredible violation of human rights." Colom also says his government is studying whether it can bring the case to an international court.
The NISGUA organization is the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala. The group's mission centres around connecting North American activists with Guatemala citizens in the “grassroots global struggle for justice, human dignity and respect for the Earth.” The collaboration specifically mentions connection building between U.S. and Guatemalan activists, but there’s no reason Canadians can't also contribute to this support network.
We are pleased to host lawyer Rafael Maldonado from the Guatemalan Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS). CALAS is one of the most important centres for environmental justice in Guatemala. It carries out research, education, advocacy and legal protection in defence of the rights of communities affected by mining, bio-piracy, and environmental destruction. Mr. Maldonado will talk about his ongoing work with community members from southeastern Guatemala who have been criminalized due to their opposition to Toronto-listed Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine project that they fear will detrimentally affect their community’s water and wellbeing.
We are proud to announce Peace Brigades International-Canada's first ever Film Festival taking place at Carleton University on March 21st, 2014. We will be screening two films that showcase the impact of foreign companies in Latin America.
Local human rights and environmental groups around the world have regularly denounced instances in which multinational companies have violated their human rights and the rights of their communities.
Through our festival, PBI seeks to provide a channel through which Canadians can learn more about the situations that these communities and human rights defenders face, the work they are doing to fight for justice, and how PBI supports them.
The two films we are excited to screen are Gold Fever and 9.70 Documentary.
Please join us for a public screening of the film DEFENSORA on:
October 26th from 7pm-9pm
Ontario Institutes for Studies in Education (OISE) – Auditorium (G162)
252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1V6
(subway – St George station)