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PUBLIC DECLARATION FROM THE DIRECTORS OF THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY DIAGUITAS HUASCOALTINOS

by Sergio Campusano VillchesPresident, Diaguita Huascoaltinos Indigenous and Agricultural Community
May 31st, 2014

In light of news of a potential negotiated agreement that would put an end to the social and environmental conflicts generated by the Pascua Lama project in the ancestral territory of the Agricultural Community of Diaguitas Huascoaltinos, we declare that this only deepens the relationship of confrontation that Barrick Gold has imposed in its relationship with the Community that owns the communal property of Diaguita.

The Agricultural Community Diaguitas Huascoaltinos, owner by ancestral right of the territory where the Pascua Lama mining project is located and which has therefore always paid property taxes to the State of Chile, informs the national and international public that the declarations that have been leaked to the media regarding an eventual arrangement to compensate the community, that would give social license to the Pascua Lama mining project in its land, constitute a new attack on its territorial rights.

This is evidence, once more, of the immoral actions of the Minera Nevada mining company (subsidiary of Barrick Gold), for imposing its project without respecting the fundamental rights of Indigenous Peoples recognized by current international agreements ratified by Chile, like Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization.

In effect, they've made public that the company is negotiating with people that claim to represent our territorial rights, when the State of Chile itself and the Superior Court of Justice of the country have both expressly recognized the ownership that the Agricultural Community of Diaguitas Huascoaltinos exercises over its communal property that makes up the Estancia Los Huascoaltinos.

The organizations represented by Mrs. Solange Bordones, that in this case want a negotiated agreement with the Barrick Gold company, do not have a territorial basis nor the political representation to be able to speak in the name of the Agricultural Community Diaguitas Huascoaltinos. The lawyers that represent them lack the mandate to compromise our territorial rights, and neither do they have the impartiality to carry forward an agreement as “mediators”, when according to what they've expressed in the media, their professional services would be paid for by the resources that the company has set aside for this process which amounts to a preliminary sum of 5 million dollars.

We demand that the State of Chile and its authorities take the necessary measures to reestablish the rule of law, to safeguard our fundamental rights and prevent private actors from taking positions of power that threaten indigenous rights.

From the session of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT) that is taking place in the city of Montreal (Canada), precisely to establish the responsibility of the Canadian mining industry in the systematic violation of human rights in Latin America. The Agricultural Community Diaguitas Huascoaltinos, represented by its President Sergio Campusano Villches and the Citizen Observatory represented by its co-director Nancy Yáñez Fuenzalida, have denounced this strategy of impersonation, and we hope for a report from the PPT that condemns these damaging practices of the Barrick Gold mining company, and urge the governments of Chile and Canada to take the appropriate punitive and regulatory measures.

Sergio Campusano Villches
President
Agricultural Community Diaguita Huasco Altinos


Nancy Yanez Fuenzalida
Co Director
Observatorio Ciudadano

 

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