From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Brit firm deals on torture
Thursday 21 July 2011
by Paddy McGuffin, Home Affairs Reporter
A British-based mining firm has settled out of court over allegations that 33 indigenous Peruvians were tortured by police after protests against subsidiary Rio Blanco Copper SA, lawyers for the families reported on Wednesday.
Monterrico Metals settled without admitting liability over allegations, dating back to 2005, that it was complicit in the torture and mistreatment of claimants which included them being forced into sacks and beaten.
Photographs showed protesters hooded, handcuffed and injured and the claimants have alleged they were abused, threatened and that two women were subjected to sexual abuse.
Five claimants were shot and one lost an eye as a result.
Claimant Elizabeth Cunya Novillo stated: “The three days of detention were some of the worst of my life. When I was beaten it changed my world… it was as though a tornado had destroyed everything.”
Another, Senesio Jimenez, stated: “When we arrived for talks they ejected us with beatings and bullets, they tortured us on our own land. A peasant is sometimes treated like an animal with no right to live, they have no compassion.
“I thought there was no hope of justice. Every day I remember the beatings and abuse. I cannot forget it. At work those thoughts won’t go. I despair that my land will disappear.”
The claimants also allege that the incident formed part of a company strategy designed to suppress opposition to the mine.
They claim that an attack on the peasant community of Segunda Cajas by a mob wielding sticks and stones was orchestrated by RBC, resulting in excessive force by police against the villagers.
Other incidents are claimed to have been organised by the company between January and April 2006 to intimidate opponents of the mine.
This is denied by Monterrico.
In September 2006 RBC wrote to the communities expressing its “most deeply felt apologies for attitudes and conflicts that in the past have occurred between certain of its staff and workers, and some families, and organisations and community leaders of the provinces of Huancabamba and Ayabaca.”
Monterrico denies that this apology was related to the August 2005 incident.
Leigh Day and Co solicitor Richard Meeran said: “Our clients suffered deplorable mistreatment and were denied justice in Peru.
“This was an extremely costly exercise for Monterrico and constitutes a salutary lesson to multinationals operating in developing countries.”
Peru’s new government is imposing a windfall tax on trans-national mining firms’ operating profits to raise £670 million per year for social programmes: here.
$35 Billion of Oil Plus an “Uncontacted” Tribe Equals Coverup. David Hill, Truthout: “What do you do if you want to build a pipeline to move 300 million barrels of oil but an “uncontacted” tribe is in the way? Employing consultants who claim they don’t exist certainly helps. On July 22, Peru’s Energy Ministry gave the green light to Anglo-French company Perenco to build a pipeline in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon… Some years later, in 2002, two Peruvian soldiers glimpsed two of these no contactados – or “calatos” (naked people), as they’re sometimes called… The soldiers aren’t the only ones to have seen or found evidence of the no contactados in this region”: here.
More than 100 rural Peruvians have been made ill by the spill of a toxic copper concentrate produced at one of the country’s biggest mines: here.