Guatemala: Swedish pension funds must protect indigenous people

Guatemala: Swedish pension funds must protect indigenous people

Guatemala: The mining projekt “Marlin I” has had severe consequences for the Maya peoples of the Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán Municipalities in the Department of San Marcos. As a member of Aprodev and Cifca, Diakonia has signed a request to the Swedish national pension funds to take action.

Support the precautionary measures

The Swedish national funds, as well as the Norwegian Investment Bank, ought to support the shareholders resolution submitted to Goldcorp Inc. regarding the implementation of precautionary measures granted by the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to communities of the Maya indigenous peoples in the Department of San Marcos, Guatemala.

Alleged human rights violations

Together with 35 other organisations, Diakonia expresses its concern regarding the alleged human rights violations, occurring in the framework of the mining of the Marlin I project granted to the company Goldcorp/Montana Exploradora de Guatemala S.A.

IACHR granted precautionary measures a year ago

Due to the situation, the IACHR has granted precautionary measures for the members of the communities Sipakapense and Mam of the Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán Municipalities (in the Department of San Marcos) on May 20, 2010.

These precautionary measures request, among other things, “the suspension of mining of the Marlin I project and other activities related to the concession granted”.

The state has failed to assist the communities

On June 23, 2010, the Government of Guatemala announced their intent to comply with the precautionary measures. On the initiative of the General Prosecutor (Procurador General de la Nación), an administrative process was initiated to suspend operations of the Mining Law Marlin I on August 10, in order to comply with the commitments made under International
Human Rights Law.

Nevertheless, almost one year after the Precautionary Measures were issued by the IACHR, it has become clear that the State of Guatemala has failed to comply with them, thus disrespecting its obligations under international law.

A dialogue is positive, but more must be done

Diakonia recognizes the initiatives undertaken by the Swedish pension funds to develop a dialogue with Goldcorp about the case. However, as owners, we request them to make sure that Goldcorp Inc. respects and implements the precautionary measures granted by the IACHR.

Both Norway and Sweden are bound by international human rights treaty obligations and it is important that the activities of State Pension Funds do not violate these obligations.

Vote for the resolution!

Therefore, Diakonia and the other organizations urge the Swedish pension funds and the Norwegian Bank on Investment Management (NBIM) to support the Shareholders’ Resolution that has been presented on 16th of March, 2011, and thus vote for this resolution at Goldcorp´s upcoming Annual General Meeting on May 18th.

Shareholders resolution

Below an abstract from the shareholders resolution submitted to Goldcorp Inc. on May 16th 2011:

The international community has expressed its concern with the Marlin mine to the Government of Guatemala, including:

  • The 2010 recommendation of the Committee of Experts of the International Labour Organization that urged the Government of Guatemala to suspend mining operations at the Marlin mine.
  • Precautionary Measures 260-07 issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the Government of Guatemala suspend mining at the Marlin I project and implement effective measures to prevent environmental contamination, ensure access to a safe water supply and address related health and security issues.

Be it resolved:

  • Pursuant to Goldcorp’s own Human Rights Assessment, the company halt all land acquisitions, exploration activities, mine expansion projects, or conversion of exploration to exploitation licenses, until it complies with international law;
  • The Board of Directors require that Goldcorp’s Human Rights Assessment be made easily available on Goldcorp’s main web site;
  • The Board of Directors announce its commitment to voluntarily implement recommendations of international human rights bodies;
  • The company suspend operations at the Marlin mine in accordance with the recommendations
    of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Read more

On March 16th 2011 Diakonia, being member in both Aprodev and Cifca, signed a letter to Four of Sweden’s national pension funds (AP fonder) and the Norwegian Investment Bank, requesting them to support indigenous people in Guatemala.

Download the letter sent to the Swedish National Pension Funds and the Norwegian Investment Bank on March 16, 2011

Undersigned

  1. Amnesty International Norway
  2. Amnesty International Sweden
  3. APRODEV – Association of World Council of Churches related Development Organisations in Europe
  4. Brot für Alle, Switzerland
  5. Brot für die Welt, Germany
  6. Catapa, Belgium
  7. CIDSE – Coopération Internationale pour le Développent et
    la Solidarité
  8. CIFCA – Copenhagen Initiative for Central America and
    Mexico
  9. Changemaker, Norway
  10. Christian Aid, United Kingdom
  11. Christliche Initiative Romero, Germany
  12. DKA Austria – Hilfswerk der Katholischen Jungschar
  13. FIAN International
  14. FIAN Sweden
  15. FIAN Norway
  16. FIDH- International Federation for Human Rights
  17. Forum Syd, Sweden
  18. The Future in our hands, Norway
  19. FIVAS, Norway
  20. Grupo Sur
  21. Guatemala-Netz Zurich
  22. INKOTA-netzwerk, Germany
  23. Latin America Groups, Sweden
  24. MISEREOR, Germany
  25. Norwegian Church Aid
  26. Norwegian Development Fund
  27. Norwegian Latin-America Group (LAG)
  28. OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture
  29. Dutch Platform Against Impunity in Guatemala
  30. Protection International
  31. Rainforest Foundation Norway
  32. Red de Solidaridad con Guatemala de Berna, Switzerland
  33. Red Europea de Comités Oscar Romero
  34. Spire, Norway
  35. SweFOR- Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation
  36. Terre des hommes, Germany

http://www.diakonia.se/sa/node.asp?node=3962

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