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Guatemala: Police evict Q’eqchi’ families protesting against Skye Resources & badly beat one man - article alleges Skye "refuses to negotiate with communities"

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Article
15 November 2006

[PDF] Calm returns to El Estor, Izabal [Guatemala]

Author: Prensa Libre [Guatemala]

After last Monday’s disturbances that left the mayor’s vacation house, the hospital and the corporate relations offices of Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN) [part of Skye Resources] in pieces, the settlers from the town El Estor, Izabal are calm once again...CGN released the following statement to the press: “We are sad to state that about 60 people attacked the company’s infrastructure and created a environment of fear and anxiety. Among the members of this group were the same leaders who last September 17th organized the invasion of five of the company’s areas.”...“The company is open to dialogue, and the answer from those groups was violence”...[Rigoberto Chub, mayor of El Estor, said:] “This was organized by our political opponents; they organized a group of gang members...to cause these damages”...

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Article
6 December 2006

Canadian Mining, the Mayan-Q'ecqhi' People and the Cycles of Landlessness, Poverty and Repression

Author: Grahame Russell, Upside Down World [USA]

...Jose Chocoj Pan...was severely beaten by the Guatemalan National Police (PNC) and left for dead in a forest near the Skye Resources mining company...Over 90% of the population of El Estor are Q’eqchi’...On September 19, 2006, Jose went with his family, and dozens of landless Q’eqchi’ families, to peacefully occupy a piece of land...by the old landing strip of the Canadian Skye Resources nickel mining company. In this region, the Q’eqchi’ majority lives in conditions of poverty and landlessness...[and] feel threatened by the renewal of nickel mining...The largest landowners in this region are two...companies: Skye Resources and INCO...[which was] recently bought by CVRD of Brazil [and] owns 12% of Skye...The claim that Jose Chocoj Pan and thousands of Q’eqchi’ people are making to a piece of land is based firstly on the most obvious and imperative need for survival...Skye Resources, for now, is refusing to negotiate with the communities...Skye Resources must take immediate actions to prevent this bad situation from getting worse...must publicly denounce and disassociate itself with the decision of the El Estor "civil society" to form Civil Patrols...must publicly denounce the illegal, violent evictions. While Skye did not carry out these evictions, it is the only direct beneficiary of these abusive policies and actions...Skye did not create the underlying exploitations, landlessness, racism and repression, yet Skye has chosen to do business in a complex and unjust situation. [also refers to United Fruit Company (now Chiquita)]

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Article
19 December 2006

[PDF] [Response of Skye Resources to the Upside Down World article]

Author: Ian G. Austin, President & CEO, Skye Resources Inc.

[Skye Resources sent the following statement to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in response to the Upside Down World article above]
The people of Skye Resources remain committed to open and transparent communication on all issues and concerns related to the Fenix Project...We are taking whatever steps we can to build trusting relationships with our neighbors and to respond to their fears and concerns. In particular, Skye has been working with management in Compañía Guatemalteca de Niquel S.A. (CGN), Skye’s subsidiary in Guatemala...to assist them in resolving issues relating to the recent series of land invasions...To date, CGN has not evicted anyone – it has simply asked them to leave voluntarily and told them that, if necessary, it would seek eviction orders...In the meantime, people in the town of El Estor created a neighbourhood watch-type organization. This is akin to a North American style neighborhood watch program where local citizens monitor their community and report suspicious activity to police for action...For more information and a chronology of recent events in the El Estor area, please visit our web site at http://www.skyeresources.com/community.

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Company response
20 December 2006

Response by Skye Resources (part of HudBay): Indigenous residents protest mining exploration, say they are badly beaten by police.

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