Choya
Police repression in Choya, Argentina. Photo credit: Prensa UAC
Blog Entry

Support for Precautionary Measures for Communities in Andalgalá, Argentina

Letter to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

President of the Inter-American Commissioner for Human Rights  Julissa Mantilla Falcón

CC: Commissioners Joel Hernández García; Margarette May Macaulay; Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño; Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana

Ref.: Support for the request for PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE – CIDH 0000069613

MiningWatch Canada is a Canadian non-profit organization that has been working for over 20 years in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and communities facing mining operations that affect their lives and territories.

We are very concerned about the situation unfolding in Andalgalá, Argentina, where peaceful protest is taking place against the MARA mining project (formerly known as Agua Rica). The people impacted by this project have been in opposition since the project’s inception, peacefully gathering in large numbers to demonstrate against the company. Protesters have faced an environment of threats and harassment, violent repression, and arbitrary detentions. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was denounced for taking advantage of the health crisis to move forward with the project.

Several weeks ago, the situation intensified. Residents of the town of La Choya - impacted by this mining project - set up a peaceful encampment in Nevados del Aconquija to prevent the company from proceeding with its exploration work. A judge subsequently ordered the removal of the camp. The police used violence against those at the encampment to evict them and carried out further aggression against participants in a solidarity march that took place in Andalgalá, detaining several individuals and leaving many injured. Yesterday, another round of repression and arbitrary detentions took place against people in La Choya.

The MARA project is a joint project being developed by the Canadian mining company Yamana Gold and the US company Newmont Mining Corporation. Both companies have a history of environmental violations and abuse against human rights defenders. Undoubtedly, as people on the ground note, they are pressuring the Argentinean authorities to violently repress protesters in order to advance with their exploration activities.

As an organization that has spent more than two decades monitoring the situation facing human rights and environmental defenders threatened by Canadian mining companies, we are very concerned about the severity of the acts committed in Andagalá. It is extremely important that the physical security and well-being of those who are exercising their rights to self-determination and to peacefully protest mining in their territories be guaranteed. Therefore, we wish to express our support for the request for precautionary measures PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE - IACHR - 0000069613 filed by the organization SERPAJ on May 19, 2022.

Sincerely,

Kirsten Francescone Latin America Program Coordinator Co-Manager, MiningWatch Canada

Photo: Prensa UAC