Yesterday, the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador (La Mesa) repeated its request to the Salvadoran government to introduce legislation to ban metal mining. The call was made in response to a report by Oscar Luna, El Salvador’s Human Rights Ombudsman, titled ‘Special Report on the Cerro Blanco mining project and the potential violations to the human rights of the Salvadoran population’. Cerro Blanco is a mine in southwestern Guatemala owned by Vancouver-based Goldcorp. It is located just 18 kilometres from the El Salvador border and poses a direct threat to the Lempa River which provides drinking water for three million Salvadorans.
Vidalina Morales, who spoke at our ‘Shout Out Against Mining Injustice’ conference in Vancouver in June 2012, stated, “We stress once again that contamination in the subsoil and the basin of the Lempa River, from mining projects on the border with Guatemala and Honduras is incompatible with the improvement of the quality of life for Salvadorans, as well as, the enjoyment, protection and promotion of human rights to water, health and a healthy environment.”
Harper & the new mining law in Honduras
Contra Punto reports that the group also highlighted the threat posed to water in El Salvador by the recent approval of a new mining law in Honduras, which borders El Salvador. The Canadian Embassy, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) lobbied and provided assistance to ensure such a law would be satisfactory to Canadian industry, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19032. This is an issue that could be raised during the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Canada’s human rights record this coming April, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17161.
Right to water law in El Salvador
Additionally, in April 2012 the Congress of El Salvador approved a constitutional reform that recognizes the human right to water, which now awaits ratification, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14799. The Blue Planet Project has commissioned a report on the right to water in El Salvador that we hope to be able to release this spring.
Upcoming speaking tour
Please also note that Vidalina Morales will be on a speaking tour in Canada starting in mid-March, with speaking events in communities including Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, London, Guelph, Peterborough, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax. More to come on that tour soon.
For more in Spanish, please see the website for La Mesa, http://esnomineria.blogspot.com/; the report by El Salvador’s Human Rights Ombudsman, http://www.ceicom.org.sv/pdf/informecerroblanco/ResumenEjecutivoCerroBlanco.pdf; videos from yesterday’s media conference at http://youtu.be/5khtmyoUubY and http://youtu.be/Wf_Yt3FuSig; and news coverage of the media conference, http://www.contrapunto.com.sv/ddhh/continuan-peticiones-para-evitar-labor-minera.