Guatemala: NGO and local media allege that activists detentions are due to their opposition to CGN/Pronico's mining project

Two land defenders were detained in Guatemala: in October, the fisherman and activist Juan Caal Suram, and in November, the journalist and human rights defender Jerson Antonio Xitumul Morales. Both are inhabitants of El Estor, Guatemala. A local media and an NGO alleged that the Compañía Guatemalteca de Niquel (CGN/ Pronico) (part of Solway Group) is behind these detentions and legal processes against other activist that oppose the mining activities at El Estor. The full allegations are only available in Spanish, here.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited CNG/Pronico to respond; the response is available below.


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Company response
12 December 2017

CGN/Pronico response

Author: Compañía Guatemalteca de Niquel

…CGN/Pronico was not a part of the armed conflict between the police forces and a group of protestors and, therefore, could not by any means be held responsible for the consequences of criminal acts that took place in El Estor back in May. Jerson Antonio Xitumul Morales and Juan Caal Suram were arrested as a part of an investigation initiated by a group of civilians who filed law suits in relation to the criminal acts of armed hostage taking that took place on May 4 -5, 2017. Since the events in May, CGN/Pronico has been supporting civilian and militant victims of the conflict by providing them with assistance in medical treatments and related rehabilitation procedures. As per the statement of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources dated back to May 15, 2017 the water quality analysis showed that the water pollution was generated not by the Company’s operations but by the local communities residing along the Polochic River and the lack of sewage system in residential areas…

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