On March 2, 2016 the human rights defenders at La Puya will be celebrating their fourth year of peaceful resistance against the El Tambor gold mine.
This anniversary is especially momentous, coming just after the Guatemalan Supreme Court’s February 22 ruling to suspend the mining license of the US-based company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates. This is a great victory for La Puya and for communities’ right to prior consultation.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was based on the grounds that KCA, and its subsidiary EXMINGUA, had initiated operations without prior consultation with the affected communities, as is required under Guatemalan and international law, in particular ILO Convention 169.
Community members from La Puya chanted “Long live La Puya!” and “Yes to Life, No to Mining!” upon hearing the positive ruling from the Supreme Court. “What we have here today with this resolution is the product of many years of struggle,” stated community member Doña Licha.
Help us celebrate this good news by signing onto this letter in solidarity with the people of La Puyaon the 4th Anniversary of their struggle.
In light of this recent ruling, GHRC calls on Kappes, Cassiday & Associates to comply immediately and suspend all mining operations. GHRC also calls on Guatemalan officials to quickly and effectively enforce the ruling.
We urge the U.S. Embassy and State Department to ensure that U.S. companies operating abroad comply fully with the law and uphold the highest human rights standards.
GHRC has been monitoring the El Tambor mining project and the peaceful resistance movement of LaPuya since 2012, when residents began their peaceful protest at the entrance of the mine. They have been victims of ongoing intimidation and abuse, including an assassination attempt against Yolanda Oqueli in June 2012. Others have faced trumped-up criminal charges filed by individuals associated with the company. In May 2014 the communities in resistance of La Puya were violently evicted from the entrance to the mine. However, residents remain firm in their opposition to the project.