The Honourable Beverley J. Oda
Minister of International Cooperation
Lima, February 9, 2012
Please receive a cordial greeting from the Andean Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI), the coordinating body of indigenous organizations from Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru with a mandate to promote and defend the rights of indigenous peoples internationally.
On this occasion I am writing to express our concern regarding a new tripartite development policy involving government, mining companies and non-governmental organizations that intends to facilitate mining investments in our countries.
Unfortunately, Canadian mining companies have a bad track record in our countries, where companies such as Barrick Gold are the source of many conflicts because of the dispossession of lands, destruction of water sources, and ignoring of internationally recognized rights (ILO Convention 169, the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others), that lead to multiple environmental and social impacts on our communities.
In our countries the right to prior, free and informed consent is not observed before mining concessions are handed out on indigenous lands. The communities appeal to all legal options available and don’t get an appropriate response to their just demands. Then they protest and their leaders are persecuted, repressed, and submitted to judicial processes under grave charges.
The solution is not to mediate and negotiate based on what has already been done, and no ‘social works’ carried out with the mining companies can compensate for the damage done, particularly in the face of rights having been violated.
So for these reasons we ask that your ministry refuse 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.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Miguel Palacin Quispe
General Coordinator of CAOI (The Andean Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Organizations)
Translation by Rick Arnold from original in Spanish, see attached