May is Mining Justice Month
Every May, people across Canada take action for mining justice.
This year, we will continue to push for greater corporate accountability, while we celebrate some progress.
The Canadian government announced in January 2018 that Canada will be the first country in the world to have an independent Ombudsperson for responsible business enterprise.
This means that people who have been harmed by the overseas activities of Canadian mining, oil, gas and garment companies will be able to submit their complaints to an independent ombudsperson for investigation. Effectively implemented, this could be a game-changer -however, the Ombudsperson office is not in place yet and some of the elements that will determine how the Ombudsperson’s office will operate have yet to be defined. Communities continue to experience human rights violations, even after mines are closed.
In order to be credible and effective, it is vital that the ombudsperson be free from political and corporate interference. It is also essential that the Ombudsperson be empowered to conduct effective investigations and gather evidence that may be in a company’s possession.
We need your help to encourage the government to meaningfully follow-through on the commitments it made in January.
1. Take action to ensure that Canada’s Ombudsperson will be truly effective.
Send a message to Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau:
Explaining why this issue is important to Canadians, or why it’s important to you personally;
Urging him to take all necessary steps to ensure that the ombudsperson is independent from political and corporate influence;
- Underscoring that in order to be effective, it is crucial that the ombudsperson be given the tools necessary to compel corporate disclosure, including summoning witnesses and compelling documents.
For inspiration, you could read some of the letters sent to the Canadian government by human rights defenders, community groups, environmental organizations, unions, churches, lawyers and other experts around the world, asking Prime Minister Trudeau to establish an independent ombudsperson.
You can send a message by:
- Mail (no stamp required) to: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
- Email at firstname.lastname@example.org (and cc the Minister of International Trade Francois-Philippe.Champagne@parl.gc.ca)
- Phone at 1 (613) 995-0253
- Twitter, using the hasghtags #open4justice and #power2investigate and tagging @JustinTrudeu and @FP_Champagne
@JustinTrudeau @FP_Champagne We're happy Canada is going to have a #humanrights ombudsperson to ensure corporate accountability but remember the credibility of this office will depend on its ability to access relevant information #open4justice #power2investigate
— AmnestyToronto (@AmnestyToronto) April 26, 2018
2. Show solidarity with communities impacted by gold mining
Join the "Reclaiming the future: Decolonizing hearts and ‘mines’ in Guatemala" speakers' tour
Maudilia Lopez Cardona will be speaking in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes throughout May Mining Month about building hope and resilience after more than a decade of gold mining in her community.
Join Amnesty and partners in hearing about Maudilia’s work on peace, ecology and gender while living in the shadow of a major, controversial Canadian mine. Learn what you can do to help hold Goldcorp, Canada and Guatemala to account for human rights and environmental harms.
Toronto - Tuesday, May 22nd. Details TBC
Sackville - Thursday, May 24th. Details TBC
Ottawa - Tuesday, May 29th. Details TBC