Role of Canadian Embassy in support of Marlin mine in Guatemala now before the Federal Court of Canada

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Professor Charis Kamphuis

Kamloops This Week reports: “A Thompson Rivers University law professor and her former students are at the centre of a legal battle with the Canadian government over redacted information detailing its involvement in alleged human rights abuses in Guatemala.”

“[Professor Charis] Kamphuis said consent was not obtained by the Indigenous communities for the [Goldcorp Marlin] mine and consultation was lacking.”

“Environmentalists raised concern about water contamination from the mine and the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights, of which Canada is a member, issued a statement advising suspension of the mine.”

“At that time, Canada apparently escalated its involvement. Kamphuis said public servants appeared to have pressured the Guatemalan government to not shut down the mine, effectively advocating against an international human rights order.”

“The alleged pressuring of the international human rights body is focus of the case, outlined in 20 pages of documents with redactions.”

While the alleged pressuring happened in 2010, and the access to information request was made in 2014 (both during the time of the Harper government in Canada), the current government has not released the 20 pages of documents without redactions and the court challenge is against the present Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The article continues: “The government has fought to keep the redacted information from the public, while Kamphuis and her students aim to have the information released.”

“Kamphuis said the case revolves around government accountability in its support for the private sector. She said the Global Affairs department has a culture of supporting Canadian companies at all costs.”

“The case is part of the Justice Corporate Accountability Project, a non-profit experiential learning initiative of which Kamphuis is a founding member.”

For more on this court challenge, please see this MiningWatch Canada media release: Ottawa Must Disclose How It Aided Goldcorp in Human Rights Dispute, Federal Court Hears as well as this Canadian Lawyer magazine article: Osgoode professor asks feds to disclose alleged aid to Goldcorp in human rights dispute.

Communities affected by the Marlin mine demonstrate at the Canadian embassy in Guatemala City. Photo by PAQG.

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