OTTAWA, Feb. 2, 2018 /CNW/ - More than eight years since the unsolved murder of Mariano Abarca in Chiapas, Mexico, his son and a group of Mexican human rights defenders are coming to Ottawa Feb. 5-6 to make a submission to the Public Sector Integrity Commission (PSIC) regarding the Canadian Embassy in Mexico and its support for Canadian mining company Blackfire Exploration's operations in Chiapas.
WHO: Five-person delegation from Chiapas, Mexico
WHAT: News Conference, complaint about Canadian Embassy link to corporate wrongdoing in Mexico
WHERE: Charles Lynch Press Theatre, Room 130-S, Centre Block, House of Commons
WHEN: 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018
The complaint, prepared by the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, calls for a full and impartial investigation by the PSIC into the acts and omissions of the Canadian Embassy while advocating on Blackfire's behalf. This support was provided despite the embassy being well aware of protests over environmental and human rights harms at the company's operations, leading to the murder of Abarca in 2009.
Highly regarded in his community, Abarca was a founding member of the Mexican Network of Mining Affected People (REMA). Prior to his assassination, he received threats and attempts to intimidate him, including being imprisoned without charge for eight days based on allegations made by the company and for which the authorities found no evidence.
Information obtained through an Access to Information request demonstrates that Canadian Embassy support was essential to putting the Blackfire barite mine into operation and later influencing officials to quell protests over environmental and social impacts in Chiapas, in which Abarca played a leading role. Although the mine was eventually closed on environmental grounds, documents show the Embassy continued to provide support, including advising Blackfire how to sue the Mexican state under the terms of NAFTA.
The February delegation is supported by MiningWatch Canada, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund, Common Frontiers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada Social Justice Fund, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Council of Canadians, the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL), Inter Pares, KAIROS, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) and others.
The five-person Mexican delegation includes Mariano Abarca's son, José Luis Abarca, who founded an environmental foundation in his father's name. Other members will speak to more recent experiences in Mexico at public events being organized as part of their time in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
See justice4mariano.net for up-to-date information about events.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Jen Moore, Mining Watch Canada, 613-569-3439, [email protected]; Shin Imai, Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, 647-524-2312, [email protected]; For media availability: Pat Van Horne, 613-731-6315, 613-859-1763, [email protected]