Letter from 39 Latin American Human Rights Organizations Supporting Bill C-300

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

Honourable Members of Parliament
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Honourable John McKay, MP Scarborough
MP proposing Bill C-300
Parliament Hill
Room 549 D Centre Block

The following signatories, members and representatives of Latin American human rights organizations, have learned, with great hope, about Bill C-300 that seeks to promote greater responsibility for Canadian mining companies in their overseas operations, as well as a mechanism for the Canadian Government to ensure that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies respect international environmental and human rights standards in all their operations.

In our countries, we have been witnesses to serious negative impacts generated by mining and extractives companies. In many cases, despite the fact that these actions amount to human rights violations, domestic crimes and violations of international environmental standards, we are unable to promote greater responsibility by these companies, due, in part to the absence of effective monitoring and complaints mechanisms. This often leaves leave the rights of farming and indigenous communities unprotected.

In this context, we believe that the enactment of Bill C-300 will constitute a valuable instrument to allow citizens in many countries of the world to demand of Canadian mining companies respect for international human rights and in particular economic, social and cultural as well as environmental rights and standards so that these can become a concrete and effective reality for everyone.

Furthermore, the implementation of mechanisms provided for in C-300 will send a positive message to the world regarding the commitment of the Canadian government regarding respect for international human rights treaties, to justice, and with care for the environment and definitively, a commitment to making the world a more just and human place for all human beings who share this common home, planet earth.

The urgency and the necessity for approval of this bill has been highlighted by the report “Corporate Social Responsibility: Movements and Footprints of Canadian Mining and Exploration Firms in the Developing World” produced by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict in 2009 and sponsored by the Prospectors and Developers' Association of Canada (PDAC). This report indicates that Canadian extractive companies are responsible for the majority of human rights violations linked to mining, oil and gas companies in the so called developing world and that sadly, the region most affected by the actions of these companies is our own Latin America.

We therefore offer our full support to Bill C-300 and we urge the Canadian Parliament to approve this law, which without doubt, will generate important benefits the world over.

Respectfully,

[see attached PDF of original Spanish letter for signatories]