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Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (re Guatemala)

Para la versión en español de este perfil de las demandas judiciales contra HudBay Minerals por actividades en Guatemala, haga clic acá.

C русской версией описания этого дела можно ознакомиться здесь.

Hudbay_nickel_mine_Guatemala_credit_mining_injustice_solidarity_networkOn 28 March 2011 a group of 11 Guatemalan women filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Ontario, Canada, against Hudbay Minerals and its subsidiary HMI Nickel Inc.  The women alleged that the companies were complicit in the gang rapes suffered by the women at the hands of security personnel hired by the defendant companies.  The women claim that the gang rapes occurred in January 2007 during forced evictions of members of the Mayan Q’eqchi’ community living in El Estor.  The companies’ nickel mining project – the Fenix project – is located in El Estor.  Members of this community have challenged the legitimacy of the mining concession granted for the Fenix project.  Hudbay Minerals says it will vigorously defend itself against the allegations of rape.

The plaintiffs are part of El Estor’s Mayan Q’eqchi’ community.  Most of this community has never accepted the legitimacy of the mining concession and land rights granted by the Guatemalan Government for the Fenix project.  The plaintiffs argue that the concession is on their ancestral land and was granted to Hudbay without adequately consulting the Q’eqchi’ community.  They have protested the development of the project and opposed the removal and resettlement of their homes and community.

In addition to the March 2011 lawsuit filed against Hudbay Minerals, a lawsuit was filed in September 2010 by the widow of a Q’eqchi community leader, Ich Chamán, who was severely beaten and shot in 2009 during a protest against the Fenix mine.  His widow, Angelina Choc, claims that security guards from the Fenix project violently beat and shot Chamán, who was unarmed, and killed him.  (Ms. Choc is also a plaintiff in the March 2011 lawsuit described above.)  The plaintiff alleged that Hudbay Minerals failed to take adequate precautions to ensure human rights abuses would be not be perpetrated by its security personnel. 

On 10 December 2011, another lawsuit was filed against Hudbay Minerals in Canada by a survivor of a shooting incident at the Fenix project.  The plaintiff, who became paraplegic as a result, alleges that in September of 2009 he was shot at close range in an unprovoked attack by the chief of security for Hudbay’s Fenix project.     

All three lawsuits are ongoing.  In February 2013 Hudbay withrew its opposition to having the case heard in Canadian court.  On 22 July 2013 the Superior Court of Ontario ruled that the lawsuits can proceed to trial in Canadian court.  In late June 2015, the Ontario Court of Justice ordered Hudbay Minerals to disclose internal corporate documentation including information regarding its corporate structure and its control over its subsidiary in Guatemala. In November 2017, 11 guatemalan women travelled to Canada to give testimony as part of the ongoing discovery procedure. On 17 September 2019, the 11 Q’eqchi’ women amended the Statement of Claim to provide further details on the involvement of Skye Resources (now part of Hudbay Minerals) in the violent eviction of their community in January 2007.

- "Important Canadian court ruling in the Hudbay Minerals (Guatemala) lawsuit", Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, 30 Jun 2015
- "Lawyer touts 'breakthrough' in Hudbay lawsuit", Jeff Gray, Globe & Mail, 25, Feb 2013
- "Shooting Victim Announces Third Human Rights Lawsuit Against Hudbay Minerals", Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors, Rights Action, 7 Dec 2011
- “Hudbay defends against allegations in gang rape lawsuit”, Canadian Press, 29 Mar 2011
- “Hudbay faces fresh $55m lawsuit from Guatemalan group”, Mining Weekly, 29 Mar 2011
- “Guatemalan widow's lawsuit against Hudbay could be precedent setting”, Matthew Hill, Mining Weekly, 18 Feb 2011
- “Widow files $12M suit against mining company”, CBC News, 2 Dec 2010

- Hudbay: [PDF] Hudbay Responds to Allegations in Statement of Claim, 29 Mar 2011
- Hudbay: The facts: Hudbay's former operations in Guatemala 
- Klippensteins, Barriesters & Solicitors [plaintiffs’ counsel]:
- [PDF] Ontario court rules that lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals regarding shootings, murder and gang-rape at its former mine in Guatemala can proceed to trial in Canada, 22 Jul 2013
 - Mayan women victims of gang rapes announce lawsuit against Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals, 28 Mar 2011
Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. & Caal v. HudBay Minerals Inc. [includes links to legal documents filed by plaintiffs]

- [PDF] Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. - Endorsement, 22 Jul 2013 [Supreme Court of Justice - Ontario]
- [PDF] Caal v Hudbay Minerals Inc. and HMI Nickel Inc. - Statement of Claim, 28 Mar 2011 [filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice]
- [PDF] Choc v Hudbay Minerals Inc., HMI Nickel Inc. and Compania Guatemalteca de Niquel S.A., 24 Sep 2010 [filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice]

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Autor(a): Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail [Canada]

Western retailers and fashion brands are taking greater interest in the working conditions of contract workers overseas, as questions are raised in legal quarters about the potential for greater liability after disasters like the collapse of the Rana Plaza. Lawyers in Canada say launching a class action on behalf of Bangladeshi victims against a Canadian retailer in court here would be very difficult, but not necessarily impossible…[A]ny Bangladeshi plaintiffs suing here would face an uphill battle and that they would likely have to show some sort of direct, hands-on involvement or key decisions related to the factory took place in Canada, or involved Canadian personnel…And any lawsuit would also face strong arguments that the legal fight belongs in Bangladesh, where the events occurred and those directly responsible and affected live…[Refers to HudBay Minerals]

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Autor(a): Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 9th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non-lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available.[Refers to adidas, Agua Mineral Chusmiza, Alstom, Areva, BASF, BP, CACI, Chevron, Chiquita, Drummond, DynCorp, ExxonMobil, HudBay Minerals, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin), Rio Tinto, Shell, Tate & Lyle, Texaco (part of Chevron), Titan (now L-3), Vedanta Resources, Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement)]

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Autor(a): Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors [counsel for the plaintiffs]

In a precedent-setting ruling with national and international implications, Superior Court of Ontario Justice Carole Brown has ruled that Canadian company Hudbay Minerals can potentially be held legally responsible in Canada for rapes and murder at a mining project formerly owned by Hudbay’s subsidiary in Guatemala. As a result of Justice Brown’s ruling, the claims of 13 Mayan Guatemalans will proceed to trial in Canadian courts…Hudbay argued in court that corporate head offices could never be held responsible for harms at their subsidiaries, no matter how involved they were in on-the-ground operations. Justice Brown disagreed and concluded that “the actions as against Hudbay and HMI should not be dismissed.”

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Autor(a): Romina Maurino, Canadian Press

Three lawsuits against a Canadian mining company over alleged shootings and gang rapes at a Guatemalan project will be allowed to proceed in Canada following a ruling that makes it possible for firms to face liability at home for incidents that occur overseas…The suits allege that security personnel, along with members of the police and military, attacked and raped 11 women in 2007 who were forcibly removed from their village in relation to the Fenix project. Two related lawsuits seek to hold HudBay Minerals Inc. and a subsidiary responsible for the subsequent killing of community leader Adolfo Ich…HudBay…has said the accusations contradict available information and that it would defend itself "vigorously against them.''…HudBay spokesman John Vincic said the ruling does not involve any determination of the merits of the case.

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Autor(a): Sudeep Chakravarti, LiveMint & Wall Street Journal

Can a court ruling in the US on use of conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo...have a bearing on how businesses may be forced to conduct themselves in India and other parts of South Asia...In a world where matters of business and human rights increasingly intersect, and act as precedence and pressure points for the evolution of activism, community empowerment, corporate behaviour, and even judicial activism, it’s probable...[T]he ruling...will have ripple effects beyond the US, and beyond the...the Congo...[O]rganizations that work in the human rights and empowerment spaces worldwide will be further energized to push their agendas...Indian businesses with global footprints or global businesses with presence in India...could come under greater human rights- and corporate governance-related scrutiny. [refers to Vedanta Resources, Bunge, Hudbay Minerals]

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Autor(a): George Waggott & Darrell W. Podowski, McMillan LLP (Canada), in Mondaq

The Court's decision [in Choc v Hudbay Minerals] to dismiss the motion to strike has been heralded by some as confirmation of an expansion of the scope of liability of the activities of multinationals…The Court noted that the test to strike a claim, which must be based solely on a reading of the plaintiff's pleadings as presented, is stringent. In the specific circumstances, the Court noted that there are competing policy considerations in recognizing a duty of care between a Canadian company and individuals harmed by security personnel at its foreign operations. While the approach to claiming negligence was described as "novel", it does not therefore automatically mean that such a claim will be clearly unsustainable or untenable…The Hudbay decision does align with a recent trend, which is that courts in Canada appear to be taking an expansive view of their own jurisdiction in respect of events that take place outside of our borders…

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Artículo
28 July 2013

Corte canadiense acepta denuncia contra empresa minera (Guatemala)

Autor(a): Prensa Libre (Guatemala)

La Corte de Justicia de Ontario, Canadá...acepta iniciar un proceso judicial contra la firma canadiense HudBay Minerals, que era propietaria de la Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel...que extrae níquel en El Estor, Izabal, por el asesinato, agresiones y violaciones de indígenas mayas que viven en área...[L]as víctimas de los crímenes que cometieron los trabajadores de la CGN presentaron tres demandas legales en Canadá, buscando justicia y resarcimiento ante la indiferencia e impunidad en el sistema de justicia de Guatemala...[E]l fallo de la corte canadiense tiene un significado trascendental, ya que sienta un precedente que puede contribuir a impedir que empresas extractivas transnacionales continúen violando los derechos humanos y depredando los recursos naturales de Guatemala.

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Autor(a): Dominic Voisard, dans le blogue d'Avocats sans frontières Canada

[L]a Cour supérieure de justice de l’Ontario a rejeté trois requêtes préliminaires présentées par la compagnie minière Hudbay Minerals…, HMI Nickel…et leur filière guatémaltèque…CGN…permettant de ce fait que le dossier puisse procéder devant un tribunal d’instance de la Cour supérieure de justice de l’Ontario. Les allégations…concernent des violations des droits de l’Homme commises au Guatemala par le personnel de sécurité privé de la compagnie minière CGN lors de confrontations avec certains membres de la communauté locale…qui s’opposaient à leur expropriation du site d’extraction…Les victimes...[allèguent] la responsabilité civile de la maison mère située à Toronto. Cette demande est ambitieuse puisque les tribunaux canadiens jusqu’à maintenant refusaient d’entendre des demandes en responsabilité civile contre des sociétés canadiennes pour les violations des droits de l’Homme supposément commises par leurs filiales étrangères argumentant qu’il s’agissait de deux entités distinctes…Cette affaire pourrait créer un précédent intéressant forçant les entreprises transnationales ayant leur siège social au Canada à agir de la même manière au Canada que dans le reste du monde…

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Autor(a): Alexandra Posadzki, Canadian Press

A Canadian mining company has decided not to appeal a ruling that will allow three lawsuits it is facing over alleged shootings and gang rapes at a Guatemalan project to be tried in Canada…The ruling makes it possible for firms to face liability at home for incidents that occur abroad…One of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs -- 13 Mayan Guatemalans -- said he was surprised by the decision because he said so far the mining company has fought "tooth and nail" at every step in the process…Harrison [the lawyer representing HudBay] said the company decided that allowing the cases to proceed to trial was the best course of action."HudBay is confident it will succeed on the merits," Harrison said in an email. Wanless [who represents the plaintiffs,] said that this case potentially has far reaching implications for Canadian firms…

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Autor(a): Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

This briefing highlights reports from a range of sources about how businesses have impacted human rights, positively and negatively, in Latin America & the Caribbean over the past two years. The briefing refers to most countries in Latin America. Amanda Romero, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s Latin America & the Caribbean Researcher based in Colombia and Julia Neiva, Brazil and Portuguese-speaking countries Researcher and Representative based in Brazil, provide our coverage of these countries. This is not a comprehensive overview. It flags some major issues, cases, developments and trends. For more details see our website, with sections on over 190 countries, more than 5000 companies, and 150 issues.

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