Steelworkers Urge Mexican President to Stop the Harassment and Intimidation in La Sierrita Community, Mexico

TORONTO, Nov. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers Canadian National Director is calling on President Pena Nieto to end the harassment of the miners and community of La Sierrita.

On November 8 and 10, just days before civil proceedings of La Sierrita de Galena community against Canadian mining company Excellon Resources, the state police of Durango, Mexico, arbitrarily detained without charge six members of the community La Sierrita de Galeana, three of whom are former employees of Excellon Resources and members of the National Union of Mine Metal and Steel Workers of Mexico (SNTMMSSRM) .

La Sierrita community members have been fighting for the defence of their land, territory and natural resources against Excellon Resources since 2004, some of which are workers members of Local 309 of the Mine Workers Union fighting for the legal recognition of a democratically elected union.

Harassment and intimidation against community members and workers have intensified over the past three months while the presence of the army and state police has increased.  Human rights defenders of ProDesc (Proyecto de Derechos Económicos Sociales y Culturales), providing support to the community on the case, have also been victims of intimidation.

In a letter dated November 12, 2013, Steelworkers National Director, Ken Neumann, urged President Peña Nieto to withdraw any legal charges against the six members of La Sierrita, investigate and sanction individuals responsible for the detention, establish security measures to guarantee the safety and security of community members, workers and human rights defenders and ensure their rights are fully protected.  Neumann is also calling on the government to take the necessary actions that will highlight the importance and legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders in Mexico.

The United Steelworkers and the Canadian labour movement have supported La Sierrita community, the Mine Workers Union and ProDesc in the ongoing struggle to assert their labour and human rights.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Alejandra Ancheita, ProDesc, 55-5212-2230 / aancheita@gmail.com
Doug Olthuis, United Steelworkers, 416-859-9953 / dolthuis@usw.ca


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