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.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
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”.
- Affected people
- Date rejected / concluded
- 3 May 2011