Guatemala: Xinka people demand that Pan American Silver respect their rights and put an end to the violent legacy of the Escobal mine

The Xinka Parliament presented their pledge in a press conference to the Canadian Company Pan American Silver who bought Tahoe Resources and the Escobal Mine. The project is currently suspended and a proper consultation process has been ordered by the Constitutional Court. The Xinka Parliament asked Pan American Silver shareholders to respect this process and to refrain to reach any contact with the community until the consultation process is done, and accused them of supposedly manipulate and intervene in the consultation process. Business & Human Rights Centre invited Pan American Silver to respond to the allegations, the response is available.


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Company response
28 May 2019

Pan American Silver response

Author: Pan American Silver

…At Pan American Silver and Minera San Rafael (MSR) we are committed to managing our operations in a socially responsible manner with the utmost respect for human rights. We adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. We take our responsibility to human rights, including the rights of indigenous people, seriously in all aspects of our business and expect the same of our business partners, employees, contractors, and community stakeholders. We condemn all forms of violence, threats or intimidation.  We are aware that there have been legal challenges to the ILO 169 consultation process. It is important to note that the consultation process is being led by the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines. We will fully support and participate in this consultation process, as and when requested. Meanwhile, the mining license for MSR is suspended and the mine is not operating or producing…

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15 May 2019

Xinka People of Guatemala and International Allies Concerned Pan American Silver Will Continue Unwanted Intervention

…[T]he Xinka Parliament of Guatemala drew over 1,000 community members to its press conference where Xinka Indigenous representatives called on Canadian company Pan American Silver to respect their right to freely participate in the court-ordered consultation process over the Escobal mine. Xinka communities demanded the company cease attempts to seek dialogue and community engagement in parallel to the consultation process, which they say is coercive, heightens tensions and puts them at greater risk of human rights abuses. Pan American’s May 8th shareholder meeting in Vancouver was its first since it acquired Tahoe Resources and the Escobal mine in February 2019…The Xinka Parliament’s lawyer, Quelvin Jiménez, reacted to the company’s response stating, “Pan American Silver clearly insists on continuing to manipulate and intervene in the consultation process with the Xinka People, despite being contrary to international standards. As the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has stated: “...corporate actors, by definition, are not impartial given their profit motive…” The attitude of Pan American Silver is in open and clear violation of the ‘free’ character of the consultation, which will only increase conflict and put the process at risk. These practices are the same sort of thing that Tahoe Resources did to limit and violate our rights as Indigenous Peoples.”…

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7 May 2019

When Pan American Silver bought the Escobal mine, it bought a legacy of violence

Author: Rabble (Canada)

…Shareholders of one of the world's largest silver mining companies will meet…to discuss their latest acquisition -- the conflict-ridden Escobal mine in southeastern Guatemala, acquired by Pan American Silver when it bought Tahoe Resources…The Escobal…is currently suspended due to widespread and long-term community opposition to the project. Impacted communities argue that mining is incompatible with their ways of life, culture, and spirituality. For nearly two years, operations have been suspended…Ahead of [the]…shareholder meeting, the Xinka Parliament issued a call to shareholders: "It is important that the shareholders and the general public are fully aware that the consultation ordered by the Constitutional Court is not a simple administrative process as the mining company has presented it. The continuation or not of the Escobal mining project depends on the consultation, given the size of the project and its impact on the Xinka People. The purpose of the consultation is not to come to an agreement, but to obtain our consent. We want to emphasize that the legal and social struggle that we have been carrying out to recover our territory is not over. We are not willing to allow the continual violation of our rights, and we will not rest until our territory is completely free of mining."

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