May 14, 2018
Canadian mining company Aura Minerals ordered to stop digging up gravesites in Honduras to get at more gold
- See Reuters article below
Ambassador James Hill, Embassy of Canada in Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua, James.Hill@international.gc.ca, email@example.com
Minister Chrystia Freeland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Will the Canadian government – from Global Affairs in Ottawa to the Embassy covering Honduras – call on Aura Minerals to respect the mining suspension order, to properly re-bury any of the bodies that Aura improperly [& illegally] exhumed, and to end to any plans to destroy a 200-year old cemetery?
(Aura Minerals workers forced to take break from illegally digging up graves due to courage and dignity of Floresmira Lopez. Aura – backed by the Honduran regime, Canadian government and investors – has been illegally digging up bodies from this 200 year old cemetery, so as to get at more gold. They dug up Floresmira’s father … and she forced them to rebury his remains.)
In this way, the Canadian government would prioritize the human rights of the Honduran people in the Aura Minerals harmed communities, and also the rights of the dead to rest in peace.
It is never too late to change direction, and prioritize human rights.
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Grahame Russell, director Rights Action
Gold miner in Honduras must stop exhuming bodies from cemetery - lawyer
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - A Honduran judge has temporarily blocked a Canadian-listed miner [Aura Minerals] from exhuming dozens of human remains at a more than 200-year-old cemetery in the Central American country to make way for a gold mine, a lawyer for the local citizens said on Friday.
Since 2016, Minerales de Occidente (MINOSA), the Honduran subsidiary of Aura Minerals, has angered the citizens of the town of Azacualpa by removing over 350 corpses from a cemetery to make space for its San Andres open-pit gold mine, granted under a concession by the Honduran government.
Miners operating in Central America have long been accused of environmental damage, corruption and even violence against local communities. Mining firms, however, say they bring jobs and development to poor, rural areas.
Victor Fernandez, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the town, told Reuters on Friday that a judge had - for the time being - weighed in favor of the local villagers. The town is located about 122 km (76 miles) northwest of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.
“A judge ordered the mayor’s office to temporarily suspend the exhumation of the cadavers ... while he decides on an injunction we presented on behalf of the villagers,” Fernandez said. “As we understand it, the exhumations have stopped.”
[Aura Minerals/MINOSA] could not immediately be reached for comment.
Fernandez said that relatives of those buried in the cemetery reached an agreement with the local mayor’s office in 2015 to protect the remains of their family members, but he said local officials broke that covenant. The plaintiffs say the exhumations infringe on their popular sovereignty and their familial rights.
[Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Christian Schmollinger]
Pending destruction of the village of Azacualpa
Not only do most community members want the destruction of their cemetery to stop – there are hundreds of loved ones buried there - but they know that Aura Minerals wants not only the gold under the cemetery, but also on the other side of the cemetery, up the mountain ridge, including – a few kilometers away – the village of Azaculapa.
Since 2014, Rights Action has supported the Azacualpa Environmental Committee and their environmental, community, human rights and cemetery defense work. (More information, see below.)
Call on Canadian authorities to support the Azacualpa community calls for a stop to the exhumations of their dead, and a suspension of all mining expansion. Contact your Member of Parliament and pressure them to write to make write the above offices as well: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members
Rodrigo Barbosa, President and CEO
155 University Ave
Toronto, ON M5H 4B6, Canada
Grahame Russell, Rights Action, email@example.com
Jen Moore, Mining Watch Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Spring, Honduras Solidarity Network, email@example.com
Honduras: Ramiro Lara, ASONOG, firstname.lastname@example.org
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To support the development, human rights, environmental defense and emergency relief work of these, and other community groups in Honduras and Guatemala, make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:
U.S.: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
Canada: (Box 552) 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
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