Mexican activists call for investigation of Canadian diplomats' alleged support of mining co accused of rights abuses
"Mexican activists ask Ottawa to investigate alleged support of mining firm," 6 February 2018
A delegation of activists from Mexico – including the son of a community leader who was murdered after raising concerns with the Canadian embassy – are calling for an investigation into the actions of diplomats who allegedly supported a Canadian mining company accused of human-rights abuses... The call for an investigation comes on the heels of a major announcement by International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne that Canada will create a new watchdog position with a mandate to investigate human-rights complaints against Canadian companies operating in other countries... Advocates from Mexico expressed concern on Tuesday with the government's plan, noting that the new watchdog – officially known as the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise – will only investigate complaints after the fact. The advocates said Canada needs to set clearer rules to prevent embassies from supporting companies that are engaged in questionable activities. "Our concern with the new announcement of the ombudsperson is that it will fail to give communities and affected people access to justice," said Michel Mijangos, of the Mexican Network of Mining Affected People.
... MiningWatch Canada has been working with local human-rights advocates for several years, raising concerns over the relationship between Canadian diplomats in Mexico and Blackfire Exploration. The Calgary-based junior-mining company operated a barite mine in Chicomuselo, Chiapas from 2007-09, when it was shut down shortly after a local opponent of the mine, Mariano Abarca, was murdered in a drive-by shooting...The company, which is no longer active, has long denied any involvement in Mr. Abarca's death. [In 2010, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Blackfire Exploration to respond to this allegation; the response is available here.]