Former Common Frontiers coordinator Rick Arnold writes in Embassy, “Controversy erupted recently about new funding arrangements announced by the Canadian International Development Agency that would hook CIDA up with the mining industry and have both channelling funds to South America and Africa via a handful of international NGOs.”
“One of those projects connects CIDA, Barrick Gold, and World Vision in Peru. …Opposition to Barrick’s presence in the Quiruvilca district (north-west of Lima) goes back several years. …In 2011 (Barrick) carried out 366 (for its proposed open-pit Laguna Sur mine) in a wet zone close to five small lakes that comprise a catchment area providing clean water for some 8,000 farmers downstream. …A contingent of farmers and rural dwellers from the district (were) in Lima on Feb. 9 to join thousands of others from across Peru in the National March for Water. ….Quiruvilca-area farmers (chanted) ‘Water is life, and we are going to defend our lakes.'”
“Miguel Palacin, the general co-ordinator of the Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations, (has written) World Vision Canada/ Barrick Gold/ CIDA (asking that they) ‘refuse to take any part in this development policy, and instead that you take responsibility to ensure that Canadian companies respect, and demand that States respect, the rights of the indigenous peoples affected before anyone seeks mining concessions in our countries’.”
“As Mr. Palacin is strongly suggesting, World Vision-Canada should focus its efforts on Canada. It should join with other organizations working to bring about needed legislation at home to hold Canadian mining companies responsible for damages done abroad.”
Arnold suggests World Vision should be supporting MP Peter Julian’s bill on human rights and mining. More on that bill – and how you can support it – at http://peterjulian.ndp.ca/posts/2/18.
The Council of Canadians is organizing a ‘Shout Out against Mining Injustice’ that will take place June 1-3 in Vancouver. It will focus on the harmful role of Canadian-based mining companies in Latin America, the impact their mines have on the UN-recognized human right to water, and strategies for popular opposition to change this current reality. For more on the issue of water and mining in Latin America, please go to our campaign web-page at http://canadians.org/mining.
To read Rick’s full commentary, please go to http://embassymag.ca/dailyupdate/view/209.