The Canadian Press – A Canadian human rights delegation urged Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s office Wednesday to come to the aid of Honduran villagers they say are being exploited by a Canadian mining company.
The group — including First Nations women leaders, the organization MiningWatch Canada, lawyers and activists — visited Honduras this past week and want to draw attention to the plight of villagers in Azacualpa.
The group says in a brief presented to Dion’s office that the operations of Toronto-based Aura Minerals are affecting the health of villagers by exposing them to cyanide leaching and from its open-pit gold mine.
They also say the company wants to move both the villagers and their community graveyard. They’re also calling on the Canadian embassy to stop supporting the company’s activities in Honduras.
A request to the company for comment went unanswered Wednesday. The rights group says it is troubling that the Canadian government has deepened economic relations with Honduras, including signing a free-trade agreement, following the country’s 2009 military coup.
“We would like Canada to make a little bit more noise,” said Catherine Morris, the research director for Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, a delegation member.
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