British mining capital and torture in Peru

This video from the USA says about itself:

Jul 6, 2012 – The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in the mountain region of Cajamarca where thousands have gathered in recent days to protest the expansion of a gold mine owned by the U.S.-based Newmont Mining that has already the largest in South America. Using live ammunition against the protesters, police have killed five people this week alone. In a dramatic video broadcast nationally on Peruvian television, police severely beat Marco Arana, a former Roman Catholic priest, who had rallied protesters despite emergency measures restricting freedom of assembly. We speak to journalist Bill Weinberg, who was recently in Cajamarca. “Every time the company Yanacocha proposes an expansion of the mine, the local people there get organized and they block the roads and they shut down the businesses,” Weinberg says.

In Peru, there is the Majaz [old name of Rio Blanco Copper S.A.] case, of a large-scale copper mining project vs. local development.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Torture, murder and metal profit

Monday 19 October 2009

Paddy McGuffin, Home Affairs Reporter

A British mining firm is facing a multimillion-pound damages claim after protesters at an open cast copper plant in Peru were detained and allegedly tortured four years ago.

The case against Monterrico Metals Plc has been brought by 31 indigenous Peruvians who claim they were beaten, tear-gassed and tortured by police at the Rio Blanco mine in northern Peru.

Several protesters were also shot and wounded during the demonstration in August 2005, one of them fatally. It is claimed that employees of Monterrico assisted police in the abuse, which lasted for three days.

A lawyer for the claimants said it was “inconceivable” that the company was not aware of the abuse.

Following a fully contested hearing in July 2009, the High Court has ordered a freezing injunction for £5 million against the London-registered firm.

The claimants, including two women, allege they were detained for three days, during which they were handcuffed, hooded, beaten and humiliated at the mine site. They claim that they have long-term psychological injuries.

One protester, Melanio Garcia, a local farmer whose widow is a claimant in the case, was shot by police and then left without medical attention to bleed to death, the protesters allege.

The claimants and other witnesses allege that managers at the mine were integrally involved with the police in directing, co-ordinating and assisting in the actions at the mine site against the protesters. Monterrico denies this.

In March 2009, Peruvian prosecutors accused the police of torture but cleared the mining company and Forza of wrongdoing. Peruvian human rights groups denounced the findings as incomplete.

Legal proceedings, seeking compensation from Monterrico and its Peruvian subsidiary Rio Blanco Copper SA, were brought on June 2 2009.

This week Mrs Justice Gloster ruled that the claimants had a “good arguable case” against Monterrico and that company assets of £5m should remain frozen.

Richard Meeran of Leigh Day & Co, which represents the claimants, said: “From the evidence we have seen I believe that it is inconceivable that the company did not know of the protesters’ harsh treatment during their three day ordeal at the Rio Blanco mine.

“There is no evidence that I have seen of the company taking any steps to prevent these actions.

On the contrary, it would appear to be the case that the company was working in cahoots with the police.

“The principle that multinationals are held legally accountable for human rights violations occurring at their overseas operations is vital. Without this freezing injunction, access to justice would effectively have been denied.”

Monterrico has a chequered history in Peru. A 2007 report by anti-poverty group War on Want into Monterrico’s activities cited numerous examples of threats and intimidation against environmentalists.

War on Want campaigns director Ruth Tanner said: “British mining companies are fuelling conflict and human rights abuse across the world.

“This latest disturbing case shows we cannot rely on UK firms’ voluntary action to ensure responsible operations in developing countries.

Gordon Brown must introduce regulation to halt this abuse.”

Peru Will Hold Torturers Accountable: Why Can’t the U.S. Do the Same? Here.

Increasingly authoritarian Peru government to close down Amazon network: here.

PERU: Victims of Military Rapists Wait for Justice 25 Years On: here.

10 thoughts on “British mining capital and torture in Peru

  1. Hugo Blanco: Indigenous people are the vanguard of the fight to save
    the Earth

    October 13, 2009 — Peruvian peasant leader Hugo Blanco, who edits the
    newspaper La Lucha Indigena, was interviewed in Arequipa, in southern
    Peru. The previous day he gave a presentation at a conference entitled
    “40 Años de la Reforma Agraria” at the city’s Universidad Nacional de
    San Agustín.

    * Read more


  2. Peru: Government launches attack on Indigenous peoples’ organisation

    Introduction and translation by Kiraz Janicke
    November 4, 2009 –The government of Peru has launched a massive attack
    on Indigenous peoples through a request to dissolve the Amazon
    Interethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Rainforest
    (AIDESEP), Peru’s largest and most representative Indigenous organisation.

    * Read more


  3. Criticism of flood response policies

    Peru Rescue workers in Sacred Valley have confirmed that at least 20 people have been killed after huge thunderstorms and heavy rains continued to cause heavy flooding.

    Peru’s government has been criticised for prioritising the rescue of hundreds of foreign tourists from the Incan fortress of Machu Picchu while leaving small villages further south to fend for themselves.

    All the deaths confirmed so far have been of peasant workers in the area surrounding the former Inca capital city of Cusco.


  4. Gold miners refuse to back down

    Peru: Striking gold miners are continuing to block a strategic stretch of the Pan-American Highway near Chala in the south of the country in protest against government clampdown on their work.

    A massive tailback of more than 1,500 lorries was reported on the highway, as the government sent in military transport planes to keep essential supplies moving.

    The protesting miners are demanding that President Alan Garcia’s government lifts restrictions on independent mining that favour large corporations.


  5. Survival attacks oil drilling plan

    Peru: Indigenous peoples’ advocates have slated a Spanish oil giant’s plan to drill in a remote Amazonian province and warned that decimating tracts of forest to build heliports and roads would threaten local tribes.

    Survival director Stephen Corry revealed that the Repsol oil company was requesting permission from Peru’s President Alan Garcia to begin prospecting in an area of jungle that is known to be home to at least two “uncontacted indigenous tribes.”

    “The presence of oil workers would provoke a fight-or-flight response on the part of the region’s people,” he warned.


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