MEXICO CITY, Oct. 22 2018 /CNW/ - In the context of the visit by members of the cabinet of President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador to Ottawa, Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia asks the government of that country to investigate labor and environmental violations committed by some Canadian mining companies in Mexico.
For many years, the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Related Workers of the Mexican Republic, together with environmental and human rights defenders and affected communities, have criticized the companies that have violated the human rights of the inhabitants of the areas where they operate and of their workers. Additionally, the environment has been polluted without any sanction from the federal government.
The argument of the Canadian mining companies that the Government of Mexico will not allow the Canadian ombudsman to investigate the activities of Canadian companies in its national territory is false. The new government should cooperate with the efforts of Canada to force its companies to respect human, labor and environmental rights, as well as to make it clear that the murders and other injustices of mining companies, whether Mexican or foreign, will not be left unpunished.
Some well-known cases are those of Blackfire in Chiapas, where the community defender Mariano Abarca was murdered in 2009; Excellon Resources in Durango, where the company repressed the Ejido La Sierrita and suppressed the campaign by its workers to unionize in 2012; and Torex Gold Resources in Guerrero, where three members of the Mineworkers' Union, the brothers Víctor and Marcelino Sahuantitla Peña and Quintín Salgado Salgado, were killed during the last year for demanding a democratic union. "None of these murders was investigated or punished by the Mexican or the Canadian authorities" said Senator Gómez Urrutia.
For these reasons, he said, the Canadian trade union movement and civil society have successfully advocated for the Canadian government to establish a human rights ombudsman for communities and workers whose rights have been violated by Canadian corporations. They have demanded that this ombudsman have: 1) True independence from government and corporate influence; 2) An adequate budget; 3) Solid powers to investigate independently, including the power to order the production of documents and testimonies from Canadian individuals and companies; and a mandate to make issue reports.
It should be remembered that the mechanism of the aforementioned ombudsman was announced by Canada in January of this year, already 10 months ago. However, the authorities of that country have not appointed an ombudsman. The Canadian government originally promised that the person responsible for this activity would have the power and resources to independently investigate, including the power to order the production of information, documents and testimonies from the companies.
The companies in that country operating in Mexico are now trying to ensure that the ombudsman does not have such strong powers to independently investigate and report publicly, and one of the arguments they have presented is that no foreign government will allow a Canadian ombudsman to investigate the activities of Canadian companies in his country, revealed the president of the Labor and Social Welfare Committee of the Senate of the Republic.
In view of this, the president and general secretary of the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Related Workers of the Mexican Republic, considered it necessary for the next government of Mexico to make a public statement welcoming the creation of an ombudsman who can investigate independently and highlight the importance of his appointment.
Senator Gómez Urrutia respectfully requested that the next Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, the Secretary of the Interior Olga Sánchez Cordero, the Secretary of Economy Graciela Márquez Colín, the Secretary of Energy Rocío Nahle García, the Secretary of the Treasury Carlos Urzúa Macias, the Secretary of the Semarnat Josefa González Blanco, the Secretary of the Sagarpa, Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, and the Undersecretary of Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Interior Alejandro Encinas, in the talks with their Canadian counterparts:
1. Reject the false argument of the mining companies that the government of Mexico will not allow the Canadian ombudsman to investigate the activities of Canadian companies in Mexico;
2. Offer the cooperation of the new government with the efforts of Canada to force its companies to respect human, labor rights
3. Establish clearly that the new democratic government of Mexico will not leave unpunished assassinations and other human rights violations committed by mining companies, whether foreign nor Mexican.
SOURCE Los Mineros
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