Guatemala: Don't Undermine our Rights
Guatemala's mining laws are stoking conflict: now is the moment to act
Intensive gold and silver mining and other resource extraction in Guatemala are taking place without proper consultation with local communities, creating conflict.
This short film explores the relationship between indigenous rights and mining operations around the world.
- Background: Mining and Indigenous Rights in Guatemala For more information about human rights defenders opposed to mining developments in Guatemala, read our backgrounder.
- Amnesty Report: Mining in Guatemala: Rights at Risk: New report details scale of mining conflict in Guatemala and makes recommendations for change.
- Tahoe lawsuit Notice of Claim: You can click here for a timeline of theTahoe Resources silver mine.
- Canadian Extractives As Development Slideshow Amnesty International Canada proudly presents Canadian Extractives as Development: Myth or Reality?, a new photo exhibit by documentary photographer James Rodriguez.
- Films we love: Gold Fever and Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth. Learn how you can screen these gorgeous documentaries in your community.
Fiona Koza and Tara Scurr
Business and Human Rights Campaigners
Disputes around mining have been widespread in Guatemala in recent years. Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities have protested against the approval of metals mines on their lands and near their homes. Guatemala is home to some of the largest gold and silver mining operations in Mesoamerica. Yet the country's 1997 Mining Law, which provides the framework for the country's mining sector, does not adequately safeguard the human rights of people in communities where large-scale mines operate.
Alarmingly, community members opposed to large-scale mining development or those simply wishing to have a voice in what development activities take place in their communities are being threatened, attacked, or even killed for standing up for their rights.
Canadian mining projects in Guatemala have increasingly come under international scrutiny because of rises in human rights harms associated with these projects.Canada has also come under scrutiny for supporting companies despite evidence of human rights or environmental harms.
Amnesty International believes that it is crucial in that any development project human rights are protected without exception.
Learn more about mining and Indigenous rights in Guatemala through our online Resources and Videos and take action for human rights in Guatemala.
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BLOG: One year after Amnesty publishes a report exposing the risks to human rights from mining in Guatemala, serious issues remain. Read more
Canada Votes 2015
UPDATE: Read how the Liberals, NDP and Greens position themselves on the need for greater accountability for Canada's mining sector in the publication The Northern Miner.
Campaigning for the fall election is now happening across Canada. How well-versed are your local candidates about the impacts Canadian oil, gas and mining companies may have on human rights? Are they aware of the lawsuits filed in Canada against Canadian companies likeTahoe Resources for human rights harms? What do they think about the barriers to justice faced by people who have been harmed by Canadian companies overseas? What do they think of Canada’s corporate social responsibility policy? Do your local candidates support Amnesty’s call for an Extractives Sector Ombudsperson to investigate allegations of human rights harms by Canadian extractives companies? You can find a sample of these questions on our Canada Votes 2015 page!
Send us any replies you receive from your candidates and we’ll share them on our BHR Twitter feed: @AICanadaBHR
No News on Tahoe case: As of August 14, 2015, we are still waiting for the BC Supreme Court’s ruling on whether the victims of the 2013 shooting by security guards outside Tahoe Resources’ Escobal Silver mine in Guatemala will be able to seek justice in Canada. We will update this page and our social media feeds as soon as we have news.
UPDATE: As we reported last year, 7 Guatemalan men filed a civil claim against Tahoe Resources for an April 2013 attack that left seven people injured. Tahoe Resources will appear before the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver on Wednesday, April 8 to argue that BC should decline jurisdiction over the civil claim against it and that instead, the victims should pursue their claim in Guatemala. Wiretaps ordered by the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor captured the incident as it unfolded and appear to reveal how the company's former head of security, Alberto Rotondo, ordered the shootings and tried to cover up the evidence.
Last year, AI activists wrote hundreds of letters of support to the seven plaintiffs in a gesture of solidarity during Write for Rights.
See our joint press release on the wiretap evidence here.
IN THE NEWS: Canada's Governor General, David Johnston, warns Canadian mining companies not to tarnish Canada's 'brand' abroad. 27 November, 2014.
UPDATE: In September, Guatemala's Congressional Commission on Energy and Mines wrapped up hearings into Initiative 45-90, known as Guatemala's mining reform proposal. The Commission has yet to issue recommendations to Congress regarding the proposal. Guatemalan human rights, environmental and Indigenous peoples organisations oppose the reforms.
It is not too late to take action!
Please tell President Otto Perez Molina and Minister of Energy and Mines, Erick Archila, why the reform proposal (Initiative 45-90) must not pass.
Go to our Take Action section below!
PAST EVENT: AI Business and Human Rights Campaigner Tara Scurr will present Amnesty International’s new report “Mining in Guatemala: Rights at Risk”. Matt Eisenbrandt, Canadian Centre for International Justice, will discuss a new legal case brought on behalf of seven men who allege they were shot by Canadian mining company Tahoe Resources’ security personnel. October 7th at 6:30pm in Vancouver. More information.
PRESS RELEASE: Guatemala stokes conflict around mining by failing to consult communities. Sept 19, 2014
AMNESTY REPORT: Read Amnesty's new report called Mining in Guatemala: Rights at Risk.
IN THE NEWS: BC-Registered Tahoe Resources (TAHO) was named in a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on June 18, 2014. The civil suit alleges that Tahoe Resources is responsible for the shooting of seven men during a protest by mine security personnel in April, 2013.
NEW DOCUMENTARY: One Year One World presents a new 11 minute documentary on the Tahoe Resources silver mine in Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
GET INVOLVED: Stage a reading of the Canadian play by Aluna Theatre: The Last Walk of Adolfo Ich. Angelica Choc, the widow of Adolfo Ich, has brought a civil claim against Ontario-based HudBay Minerals over her husband's death.
GET INVOLVED: Host an exhibit of photographs by acclaimed photo-journalist James Rodriguez. Explore the controversial question: Does resource extraction help or hinder communities?
Demand justice in Canada for people harmed in Guatemala at a Canadian-owned silver mine by joining thousands of Amnesty supporters around the world for Write for Rights.
NEW E-ACTION: Guatemala's mining laws are stoking conflict. Now is the moment to act.
Lifesaver action for ages 9 & up: Provide justice in Canada for people harmed by Canadian companies abroad.