Canada: Embassy in Mexico accused of supporting mining company despite knowing of threats against environmental activist

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27 March 2019

Canada: Federal court hearing over Canadian mining diplomacy & killing of Mexican community leader

Author: MiningWatch Canada

"Ground-Breaking Federal Court Hearing over Canadian Mining Diplomacy and Assassination of Mexican Community Leader", 26 March 2019

On [March 25], family members of Mariano Abarca – a Mexican community leader who was murdered for speaking out about the negative impacts of Blackfire Exploration's barite mine in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, almost ten years ago – attended a hearing in the Federal Court of Canada. The Abarca family seeks a full and impartial investigation into the acts and omissions of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico while it lobbied in favour of Blackfire in the lead-up to Abarca's assassination, which the family believes heightened the danger he faced...

...The complaint is based on extensive documentation obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada) through Access to Information requests that reveal the essential role the Canadian Embassy played in facilitating the operations of Blackfire Exploration in Chiapas from start-up and even after the mine was suspended for environmental violations, days after Mariano Abarca's murder on November 27, 2009.

The family filed for judicial review in May 2018, after the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC) refused to investigate their complaint...

...A decision is anticipated in coming weeks.

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25 March 2019

Canada: Embassy in Mexico accused of advocating on behalf of mining company whilst ignoring threats and attacks against opposition leader

Author: The Star (Canada)

“Murder of Mexican mining protester throws spotlight on role of Canada’s embassies”, 24th March 2019

…Opposition to the mine was led by two groups, one of which, the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining, was led by Abarca…Abarca, along with two members of his family, was beaten at his home in the summer of 2008. The following summer he led a protest delegation to the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City. He was later detained by police following a complaint by Blackfire. In November 2009, he lodged his own complaint against the mining company, alleging that death threats had been made against him by Blackfire employees. Days later he was murdered…The review stems from a submission made…to Canada’s public sector integrity commissioner by the Justice and Accountability Project...The project’s co-lead is Shin Imai… “What we can determine” —…quoting from Imai’s text — “is that the Canadian Embassy acted in ways that appear to be contrary to government policies at that time…The Canadian Embassy ignored warnings that Mr. Abarca’s life and safety were in danger, while actively advocating on the company’s behalf with the government of the State of Chiapas. The second issue is whether the Canadian Embassy knew about, but did not report, suspicious payments made by the mining company into the personal bank account of a local politician.”…

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