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Peru: Peruvian civil society delegation denounces social impacts of mining in Brussels

[Excerpt translation from Spanish to English provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]

"Mining in Peru and the EU: The open pit mining will pollute the whole world" - 19 November 2019

The extraction of minerals required by Europe is suffered in flesh and blood by the populations of Peru. To sensitize both politicians and society, a Peruvian delegation visited Brussels. DW spoke to [it] … Virginia Pinares, peasant leader of Cotabambas in Peru, may receive a possible eleven-year sentence for obstructing roads to the Las Bambas mine [part of MMG, part of China Minmetals].  In Brussels, Pineras is part of a delegation sponsored by the EU-LAT network and the Europe-Peru Platform, which wants to make visible the social cost of the mineral consumed here on the other side of the ocean. (...) "Neither in the case of Julia Cuadros nor in the case of Virginia Pineras was there only one proof of what he accused them," David Velazco, of Fedepaz, an organization that promotes and defends human rights in Peru, explains to DW. "Not only in Peru, but across Latin America, there is a use of Criminal Law as an instrument to try to accuse those who protest with the idea of arresting them and demobilizing the protest", points out Fedepaz's lawyer. (...) What must change?  Bearing in mind that the European Union has trade agreements with all those countries that export to the Old Continent, especially raw materials and minerals, the field of action is clear.  "For the time being, the UN 'Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights' instrument is absolutely insufficient, because its application is voluntary," says Cuadros.  However, in any space of dialogue between the EU and its partners, Cuadros detects a window of possibility... "It cannot be that every time there is a social conflict, a state of emergency is declared or that the public force represses the population on the orders of a company.  It is unacceptable that in the mining corridor in Cotabambas there is not only the National Police but also the Army, and that the new legislation of Peru protects the mines as 'critical assets' to the detriment of the population," concludes Cuadros.

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