Murder of Guatemalan youth is evidence of escalating risk to land defenders

Written by NB Media Co-op on November 25, 2016

jeremy-700x400North American organizations are dismayed by the execution-style murder of 22 year-old Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima, assistant to the director of the Guatemalan Centre for Legal, Environmental and Social Action (CALAS), on Nov. 12, 2016 in Guatemala City.

Barrios was assassinated by unknown assailants with two bullets to the head while doing errands in Guatemala City.

“Guatemala is where we found the highest amount of physical violence in connection with Canadian-owned mining projects,” stated Leah Gardner for the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project at Osgoode Hall Law School.

The project’s report, “The ‘Canada Brand’: Violence and Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America,” released on Oct. 24, 2016, looked at incidents of violence and criminalization in connection with 28 Canadian companies in 13 countries in Latin America from 2000 to 2015 and found that at least 44 people have been killed, 30 of which were targeted killings, while more than 400 people were injured, excluding work-related injuries. They also found that over 700 people were arrested and detained during this period for their work in defence of their territories, livelihoods, health and environment.

Over 180 Latin American organizations, including CALAS, sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau six months ago, calling on the government to take measures to prevent systemic harms and ensure that people harmed by Canadian mining companies have access to justice.

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