INDIGENOUS RIGHTS CONTINUE TO BE DISRESPECTED
“According to information received, the Mount Polley mine was initially approved without an environmental assessment process, consultation with or free, prior and informed consent from the potentially affected Indigenous peoples, and the mining disaster has resulted in a disproportionate and devastating impact on the water quality, food such as fish, fish habitats, traditional medicines and the health of Indigenous Peoples in the area,” UN CERD concluding observations on Canada.
On August 4, 2014, Canada’s Mount Polley gold and copper mine’s 4-square kilometre tailings pond failed, releasing over 24 million cubic meters of water and mine tailings into surrounding waterways; including Quesnel Lake which is a crucial incubator for 25 % of BC’s wild salmon. The tailings pond breach, in the heart of Secwepemc territory, is considered Canada’s largest environmental mining disaster.
To date, no one has been held responsible for the disaster: there have been no fines or penalties levied against the company nor have ongoing criminal investigations resulted in any charges. Canada’s commitment to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is in question over issues like the Mount Polley mine disaster.
Indigenous and settler communities affected by the Mount Polley disaster have taken their concerns to the international community. In 2017, they made presentations and formal submissions to two important UN bodies that monitor discrimination and the activities of companies. Both UN bodies validated and supported their concerns by calling on Canada to provide justice.
But Canada has failed to act.
And time is running out for charges to be laid under federal legislation. Will you stand with Amnesty International Canada in calling for justice for the Mount Polley mine disaster?
More ways you can take action here!
Background: The human rights impacts of the Mount Polley disaster
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
I am deeply concerned that no one has been held accountable for the environmental and humans rights harms from the 2014 Mount Polley tailings pond breach.
Two United Nations bodies - the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights - have called on Canada to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples and others harmed when the tailings pond at Mount Polley broke, sending 25 million cubic metres of mine waste water into British Columbia’s Quesnel Lake.
Indigenous peoples say that they continue to experience health impacts and threats to their food security as a result of the breach and ongoing mining operations. This worries me greatly. People affected by the disaster say that Canada has abandoned them. Canada must uphold the right to remedy for people whose rights have been abused. I find it appalling that the company responsible has not yet been fined, charged or penalized.
Please ensure justice for the Mount Polley mine disaster. 4 years is too long to wait!