Canada in the crosshairs for destroying the Amazon

Despite its imageclimate progressive”, Canada has been implicated in abuses and violations of corporate rights in mining and oil projects in the Amazon.

Indigenous peoples are on the front lines of another fight against the giant corporations that exploit the resources of the Amazon without regard for the consequences. This time an unexpected opponent appeared: Canada.

Ahead of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) scheduled for November 10, 2023, Amazon Watch accompanied a coalition of indigenous leaders, local communities and civil society representatives from Latin America who will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, in The last week of August.
Together we exposed the predatory practices of the Canadian mining industry that operates in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the active support of the “economic diplomacy strategy” from the Canadian government.

Unmasking Canada: Rights Violations in Latin America

This delegation sent an urgent message that we must join them to "unmask"Canada's role in human rights and environmental violations.

It is the result of the hard work of Amazon Watch and more than 50 civil society organizations, who jointly produced three major reports as part of the campaign Unmasking Canada: Rights Violations in Latin America.

The filing constitutes a class-action lawsuit alleging corporate misconduct related to 37 Canadian projects in nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

One of the key documents of this campaign is "The Canadian Amazon Report". This report highlights human rights abuses and violations related to mining projects and oil tankers in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Impact on biodiversity and local communities

These projects are controlled by 16 Canadian companies and backed by the country's banks. The consequences of their actions were devastating and caused serious damage to biodiversity, forests and waters.

Perhaps the most painful aspect of the abuses perpetrated by Canadian companies is the impact on indigenous peoples and local communities. In the Amazon rainforest, which covers four countries, 10 projects directly impact indigenous peoples from at least 16 ethnic groups.

"The case of my region, Volta Grande do Xingu, is a clear example of the [harmful impacts of mining on ecosystems, indigenous communities and human rights]. Canadian mining company Belo Sun is looking to build the largest open pit gold mine next to the world's third largest hydroelectric dam that has already impacted our lands and lives for years".

"The explosions in the mine, if built, could cause the explosion of the Belo Monte dam and, what is worse, the mining company's own tailings dam, which foresees the use of cyanide - an extremely toxic substance - that would lead to irreversible pollution and the death of the Xingu River. We need to stop Belo Sun before it's too late"said Lorena Curuaia, vice president of the Iawá community.

This also applies to traditional communities, such as coastal communities and those living in protected areas, land reform settlements and rural communities. These communities have lived on these lands for generations and are deeply connected to the environment.

The Amazon rainforest is not just a local treasure, it is a global lifeline

These four countries, which represent 85% of the Amazon, are home to impressive tropical forests with the greatest biodiversity on Earth.

In addition to its incredible flora and fauna, the Amazon also plays an important role in mitigating the climate crisis, as confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Protecting it is not only a regional issue but also a global imperative.

Human rights violations were exposed

The human rights abuses identified by Canadian companies in the Amazon rainforest in these four countries are extremely concerning, especially in light of Canada's efforts to position itself as a global leader in demanding human rights. We cannot remain silent in the face of such flagrant violations.

The delegation's visit to Geneva was a powerful boost in the fight for human rights and an opportunity to expose abuses in Canada's mining industry in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This is a call to action from the global community to demand accountability and justice for those harmed by the actions of Canadian corporations.

Our recommendations include calling on Member States to force Canada to pass a comprehensive and mandatory Environmental and Human Rights Due Diligence Act, consistent with international human rights standards, to prevent all corporate governance abuses by companies. Canadians and their global supply chains, as well as the banks that finance those operations.

Many of these recommendations are the culmination of work documented by the Amazon Watch team in previous reports, such as "Risks of investing in Belo Sun"And"Risks of investing in Solaris assets". It also marks the beginning of our new journey of international support to protect the Amazon and our climate in general.

The health of our planet is interconnected and when abuse occurs in one part of the world, it impacts the entire planet. Let us support indigenous peoples and local communities in Latin America and the Caribbean to hold Canada's mining industry accountable for its actions. It's time to expose predators and protect the precious ecosystems that sustain us all.

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