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FREDEMI coalition vs Goldcorp

Case overview

Date filed 9 December 2009
Current status Concluded
Issue Human rights issues at Goldcorp's gold mine in Guatemala
Summary of the case The complaint, filed by a group of local Guatemalan communities against Canada-based Goldcorp Inc., which operates the Marlín gold mine, alleges that the company has failed to respect the human rights of the local population.

The complaint alleges four separate violations. First, Goldcorps land acquisition violated communal property rights and the right to free, prior, and informed consent. Second, toxic contamination from the mine and the depletion of fresh drinking water violates their right to health, and similarly, overconsumption of water violates their right to water. Third, the use of explosives for blasting and heavy equipment has caused structural damage to many houses and violates the locals right to property. Finally, retaliation against anti-mine protesters violates their right to life and security of person.

The notifiers made it clear that they did not want to engage in a dialogue with Goldcorp and specifically asked the Canadian NCP to examine the facts of the case and determine whether breaches of the Guidelines have occurred.
Developments/Outcome After carrying out an initial assessment, the Canadian NCP declared the case admissible in March 2010 and offered to host meetings between the parties. The notifiers replied they did not feel conditions existed for an open and constructive dialogue with Goldcorp, noting that agreeing to such a meeting would create further tensions and division within the community.

Instead, the notifiers reiterated their request that the NCP conduct a thorough examination of the facts, including a visit to the affected area, and issue a final statement with recommendations to ensure implementation of the Guidelines.

Given that Goldcorp was prepared to participate in a mediated dialogue, the NCP made a second attempt to organize a meeting between the parties “without any confidentiality requirements”, but the notifiers again declined for the previously stated reasons.

The NCP responded that “dialogue between the company and the notifiers is essential to the resolution of any disputes” and decided to conclude the case without resolution on 3 May 2011. In its final statement, the NCP outlines the steps that it took to try to get the parties together but makes no assessment on the validity of the allegations in the complaint or recommendations on how to improve the implementation of the Guidelines.

The notifiers are highly dissatisfied with the final statement and the NCPs handling of the case and believe that the NCP has “fundamentally misunderstood its own mandate and the situation on the ground”. The notifiers further conclude that the process “has not been worthwhile for any of the parties involved”. Regarding their refusal to enter dialogue with the company, the complainants noted, “If it were true that the mandate of the NCP is limited to facilitating dialogue, then it would follow that agreeing to dialogue would be one of the conditions for submitting a specific instance or a factor in determining whether a complaint warrants further examination. However, neither the OECD Procedural Guidance nor the Canadian NCPs Terms of Reference require it”.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Extractives / mining sector, Forced evictions and resettlement, Human rights

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Canada
NCP address
NCP website http://www.ncp-pcn.gc.ca/
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Goldcorp Inc
Company address Park Place Burrard Street Suite 3400-666
B.C. V6C 2X8 Vancouver
Canada
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations Guatemala
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
16 May 2011 Center for International Environmental Law press release Press release complainants on Canadian NCP closing the case. download pdf (39Kb)  
3 May 2011 National Contact Point Canada statement The Canadian NCP has closed the case download pdf (884Kb)  
18 February 2011 Coalition for the Defense of San Miguel Ixtahuacán statement FREDEMI’s Comments on Draft Final Statement download pdf (633Kb)  
11 January 2011 Center for International Environmental Law statement CIEL has issued a response during the Canadian NCP preparation process of final statement download pdf (361Kb)  
24 May 2010 press release The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an independent body of the Organization of American States (OAS) has issued a press release calling on the government of Guatemala to suspend the mining activity and to protect the health of the surrounding communities. download pdf (18Kb)  
23 April 2010 Coalition for the Defense of San Miguel Ixtahuacán statement FREDEMI has issued a response to the Canadian NCP stating they do not wish the NCP to facilitate access to alternative dispute settlements because the conditions do not exist for open and constructive dialogue with Goldcorp. FREDEMI feels that accepting the NCP's proposed terms for a closed-door meeting with the company would create further tensions and divisions within the affected community. Instead, FREDEMI urges the NCP to conduct an examination of the facts, a field visit to San Miguel Ixtahuacan region and the issuance of a robust final statement. download pdf (338Kb)  
9 December 2009 Coalition for the Defense of San Miguel Ixtahuacán file Case filed at Canadian NCP download pdf (600Kb)  
9 December 2009 Center for International Environmental Law press release Press release on filing the case at the NCP download pdf (9Kb)  

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