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Ecuador: $1.7 Billion Amazon Mining Project Suspended Because of Protests

Article Summary:

Ecuador’s first, large scale, open-pit mining project has hit a road block: protesting indigenous tribes. Now, the Federación Internacional De Los Derechos Humanos (FIDH) and its member organizations in Ecuador are calling for the Ecuadorian government to suspend the implementation of the contract pending a satisfactory solution to the protests.

Original Article Text From Ecuador Prensa Libre via Google Translate :

First open pit mine in the Ecuadorian Amazon: FIDH calls for the suspension of the project

On March 5, the Ecuadorian government signed a contract with the mining company Ecuacorriente (ECSA), opening the way for large-scale mining, hitherto non-existent in Ecuador. On 22 March, a march composed by indigenous citizens, farmers, women, students and workers, who for two weeks touring the country will come to Quito to demand respect for their rights and protest against large-scale mining development in Ecuador.

ECSA is a subsidiary of Corriente Resources mining company domiciled in Canada, controlled by Canadian capital between 1983 and 2010, and since then the joint venture subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation and Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co. Ltd (the second largest copper producer in China .) The contract will enable ECSA exploit copper in the Cordillera del Condor in Ecuador’s Amazon region by an estimated investment of over $1, 700 million U.S. dollars. The main project of exploitation, the Mirador project, is located in the province of Zamora Chinchipe.

In 2010, the FIDH and its member organizations in Ecuador (CEDHU, CDES and INREDH) reported proven and potential impact of the project on the rights of local communities. Also denounced the maneuvers of the state and company to intimidate members of affected communities opposed to mining projects, including violence by the security forces. Also deplored the absence of prior consultation with the communities concerned, particularly the Shuar indigenous communities and the absence of state control in the process of project approval, along with the environmental risks associated with them and their potential consequences indigenous and local communities.

FIDH and its member organizations in Ecuador called the Ecuadorian government to suspend the implementation of the contract pending a satisfactory solution to the affected communities, respecting their right to free, prior and informed guaranteed by the Ecuadorian Constitution. In a worrying context of criminalization of social protest, calling on the Ecuadorian government to refrain from any action which might undermine freedom of expression of the protesters and their right of resistance recognized in the Constitution.

On the eve of the summit Rio + 20, FIDH and its member organizations Ecuadorian remember that it is imperative that any economic development policy takes account of individuals, particularly the most vulnerable and respect human rights and the environment. The FIDH, CEDHU, INREDH and CDES also called Chinese and Canadian governments to respect their obligations to protect human rights, including violations committed by transnational corporations under their jurisdiction yque operating abroad. In this sense, Chinese and Canadian authorities should require the undertakings concerned the suspension of its operations, including through their diplomatic relations.

EcuaCorriente has, in turn, the obligation to comply with the Ecuadorian Constitution and not start work until they have met all the requirements therein. To be mining, the company has a responsibility to take all necessary measures to ensure that their operations do not prejudice the nature nor the rights of affected populations.

Link to Original Article:

From Ecuador Prensa Libre

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