In June 2023, the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) will submit a complaint to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the family of Mariano Abarca. Mr. Abarca was a beloved community leader and human rights defender who was murdered with impunity on November 27, 2009, in Chiapas, Mexico. Mr. Abarca was killed for defending community rights in relation to the “Payback” mining project, owned by Canadian company Blackfire Exploration Ltd. (“Blackfire”). The complaint alleges that the Canadian embassy in Mexico put Mr. Abarca in danger through its approach to advocacy for Blackfire and did nothing to help protect him when it learned that he was in danger. Canada also refused to investigate the Embassy's role in the lead up to his murder. The complaint relies heavily on documents obtained through a Canadian access to information request, disclosing over 1,000 pages of internal embassy reports and e-mails.
The complaint makes the case for Canada’s legal accountability for human rights abuse linked to its extractive industry overseas.