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International mission to investigate high-stakes mining conflict in El Salvador

From May 9-13, an international delegation of NGO representatives, academics, journalists and grassroots activists from a dozen countries spanning four continents will be in El Salvador to investigate a high-stakes conflict between the small state and powerful multinational mining companies.

The fact-finding mission will enable the international community to bear witness to the struggle of the Salvadoran people to defend their rights to water, health and sustainable development against the harmful impacts of metal mining. Since a moratorium was issued on metal mining in 2009, two multinational corporations, Vancouver-based Pacific Rim and Milwaukee-based Commerce Group, have launched lawsuits against the government of El Salvador through the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSCID) – a trade tribunal housed at the World Bank. 

The mission will begin with a conference in San Salvador where participants will hear views ranging from members of impacted communities, parliamentarians, the Human Rights Ombudsperson and key international experts. Delegates will then visit communities resisting metal mining.

A press conference will be held on May 13.  Details will be confirmed shortly.

For more information about the mission, please visit www.stopesmining.org.

The following people are available for comment:

From El Salvador:
Pedro Cabezas, Coordinator, International Allies against Metallic Mining in El Salvador

From Canada:
Meera Karunananthan, International Water Campaigner, Council of Canadians’ Blue Planet Project
Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada

From the United States:
Manuel Perez Rocha, Associate Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies
Sofia Vergara, Extractive Industries Lead Organizer, Oxfam USA