Canada is up for a periodic U.N. overview of its environmental and human rights report in Latin America, and activist teams need to make certain the nation is held accountable for missing rules and oversight.The nation is a frontrunner in mining and oil funding within the area however doesn’t do sufficient to guard towards deforestation, air pollution and human rights violations towards native communities, based on a collection of stories printed by activist organizations.The organizations stated Canada ought to implement new rules to guard environmental defenders and signal onto ILO Convention 169.
MEXICO CITY — Canada has grow to be a serious power in Latin America. It’s spent the final 30 years beefing up its portfolio with investments in mining, oil and pure gasoline. It’s established free commerce agreements and overseas funding protections with dozens of nations, and is within the means of negotiating extra. As a outcome, the area has seen elevated financial development. But there are undesirable negative effects, too. Weak rules and a scarcity of correct oversight of Canadian tasks usually result in deforestation, air pollution and human rights violations, most notably in and round protected areas and Indigenous communities.
Advocacy teams have had lots to say about it this yr. Canada is up for a periodic U.N. overview of its environmental and human rights report in Latin America, and so they need to make certain the nation holds their firms accountable. Ahead of the overview, which can happen in November, over fifty civil society organizations submitted a collection of stories to the U.N. highlighting dozens of cases of company abuse within the area.
“Despite Canada’s ‘local weather ahead’ public picture, it acts as a protected haven for extractive industries and corporations working in Latin America, together with areas of climatic significance,” Amazon Watch, one of many teams that printed the stories, stated in an announcement.
Other teams sponsoring the stories embrace Oxfam, Society for Threatened Peoples, Earthworks, MiningWatch Canada and the London Mining Network, amongst others from throughout Latin America.
Much of their concern lies in native individuals’s capacity to talk out towards mining and oil tasks inflicting environmental harm. One occasion is Maranhão, Brazil, the place individuals have been fined for protesting water shortages after a dam broke at a mine run by Equinox Gold, an organization with company headquarters in Vancouver. Another noticed consuming water in Puebla, Mexico poisoned by the Ixtaca mining challenge run by Almaden Minerals, whose headquarters are additionally in Vancouver. Residents there confronted threats and violence, as properly.
Neither firm responded to a request for remark.
More than half of all mining exercise in Latin America is linked to a non-public Canadian entity, based on the stories. The personal sector is drawn to Canada partly due to the numerous monetary incentives it presents, amongst them a 15% tax credit score for extractive exercise carried out overseas. Companies may also search reimbursement for bills that go into exploring new mine websites and alternatives.
The Aurizona gold mine in Maranhão, Brazil. (Photo courtesy of Equinox Gold)
The Canadian authorities has a authorized obligation to make sure firms meet the environmental and human rights requirements set by the quite a few worldwide treaties it’s part of. That means stopping and investigating abuses, and holding companies accountable. In 2014, dealing with backlash about its lax strategy to those points, the nation up to date its “company accountability technique.” But critics say it’s arduous to trace the influence.
“Canadian firms at the moment or probably violate human rights, disrespect the rule of legislation, and threaten the atmosphere within the area with the world’s highest biodiversity, which is essential for humanity’s capacity to comprise the local weather disaster,” one of many stories stated.
Oil and pure gasoline tasks have been an issue, as properly. In Peru, an oil concession often known as oil block 192 brought about over 105 spills between 2015 and 2021. Energy del Perú, a subsidiary of Frontera Energy, which has company headquarters in Calgary, allegedly failed to handle the influence of the spills on the encircling forest ecosystem. Another operation in Putumayo, Colombia run by Gran Tierra Energy, additionally with headquarters in Calgary, oversaw building of oil extraction infrastructure on wetlands that the Indigenous Inga individuals depend on for conventional medicines.
Frontera Energy Perú instructed Mongabay it’s dedicated to conducting enterprise safely and in a socially, environmentally and ethically accountable method. Gran Tierra Energy didn’t reply to a request for remark.
No the place are these points extra distinguished than the Amazon rainforest. One of the stories submitted to the U.N. counted 11 extractive tasks within the biome — seven mining and 4 oil — that lacked prior session for native communities, threatened peoples’ rights to a wholesome atmosphere and suppressed native activists talking out about environmental harms. “Canadian firms’ modus operandi within the Amazon is linked to and inspired by the Canadian state’s lack of correct regulation, oversight and accountability,” it stated.
The organizations sponsoring the stories beneficial that Canada implement new rules to guard environmental defenders. It needs Canada to signal onto ILO Convention 169, which requires firms to hold out a previous session course of wherein native and Indigenous communities have a say within the improvement of latest tasks impacting their lives and the atmosphere.
It additionally needs Canadian firms to show that their gold was sourced legally. Financial establishments also needs to reduce ties with firms concerned in extraction and fossil fuels.
“Canada nonetheless constantly fails to guard and respect human rights and the atmosphere. Instead of regulating its firms’ operations overseas, Canada argues that it promotes accountable enterprise conduct.”
Banner picture: The Los Filos gold mine in Guerrero, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Equinox Gold)
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Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Law, Environmental Politics, Gas, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Natural Gas, Oil, Pollution, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests