Target: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Goal: Stop Canadian corporations from purchasing mineral rights for misappropriated and stolen land.
Canadian corporations are fighting to exploit land stolen from indigenous peoples who were forced to flee their land and homes after decades of civil conflict. This conflict also led to the abandonment eight million hectares of land. Much of this land belongs to indigenous peoples and therefore is subject to protection under international law as well as the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Colombia has endorsed. Despite this, the Colombian government has issued licenses to mining companies and other resource companies to exploit the resources on these lands without consulting the peoples who had, until recently, inhabited and owned the lands.
Among the companies that have received mining rights is the Canadian-based multinational mining company, Continental Gold, which has been given mining rights to the lands of the Embera indigenous people of Alto Anádagueda. The Embera people, largely forced off their lands due to violence and atrocities committed in rural Colombia, recently won a court case that granted them the right to return to their lands as well as a suspension of mining permits for the area pending the consultation of the Embera People. However, mining titles have not been suspended and Continental Gold is opposing losing its mining rights.
Continental Gold is just one of many Canadian multinationals operating in Latin America. It is important to ensure that Canadian companies do not profit from human rights violations and do not operate on stolen land. Therefore, we must demand that the Canadian government hold Canadian companies to a higher standard in their foreign operations and ensure that they are not encouraging, complicit in, or defending human rights violations for its own benefit. Sign our petition and ask Prime Minister Trudeau to design rules for Canadian corporations to ensure that they do not profit from human rights violations.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Continental Gold is in possession of mineral rights to lands in Colombia that were illegally expropriated from an indigenous people. While the lands have been returned, Continental Gold is refusing to give up its mineral rights despite the fact that it acquired those rights without consultation with the community. Continental Gold is a Canadian company, and their comportment in the operations outside of Canada reflects on all Canadians, shaping the country’s international reputation.
Continental is just one of many Canadian companies operating in Latin America, and over the course of the last decade there has been a long list of issues surrounding Canadian companies’ relationships with indigenous and local communities. However, these communities have no recourse when their rights are violated both by these companies and by governments acting at their behest as they often cannot effectively challenge these companies. Therefore, there is a need for strict ethical guidelines for Canadian companies to ensure that they do not profit from, encourage, or commit human rights violations. I urge you to act on this issue.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alex Guibord