Public Conference : The impact of the Coal industry on Human rights

Members from the Greater Moncton PSAC Human Right Committee along with friends of Breaking the Silence, attended Francisco Ramirez Cuéllar tour at Mount Allison University on November 25, 2015 .

Francisco Ramirez Cuéllar is a Colombian trade union leader under serious threat from paramilitary groups in his country because of his trade union activism.  He is a lawyer, human rights activist and the author of a book about the mining industry in Colombia, which has revealed the role of the Canadian government in legislative changes to the Mining Code in favor of mining companies (The Profits of Extermination: Big Mining in Colombia, 2005).

According to Farid Tourkmani, chair of the Greater Moncton PSAC Human Rights committee, when asked what could be done to help Brother Cuéllar’s plight, he asked that we pressure our power companies not to buy coal from US mining corporation Drummond Company, Inc. and to encourage our local supermarkets to purchase fair trade bananas in lieu of Chiquita due to their ties paramilitary groups and the murder/assassinations of hundreds of workers and unionists.

He further spoke about multinationals and the harm they’re causing in Columbia in the name of the dollar.

Another Guatemalan mining activist, Aniseto Lopez for his part spoke of the Goldcorp Marlin Mine and the effects that this Canadian company has had on his community. He further spoke of how our Canada Pension Plan is heavily invested in this company and encouraged us to put pressure on the government to divest into more sustainable, less harmful options.