The second petition that the Write for Human Rights small group from the Ottawa Mennonite Church signed and sent was related to the issue of mining. The Open for Justice campaign was launched this year, supported by many organizations. It asks for mining companies to be accountable for their actions abroad. And it asks for Canadian legislation to change so that affected communities have access to the Canadian courts, and have a chance of fair trial. So far this has not happened. And the behaviour of Canadian mining companies show a record of human right abuses in poor countries. And the majority of these affected communities have no access to justice in their home countries either. The self-regulatory mechanisms that Canada tried to implement, where the companies themselves would voluntarily avoid and resolve conflicts with communities did not work. More than a legal problem, mining by Canadian companies abroad pose a problem of justice: not only the justice are systems by-passed, the mining deals are in themselves extremely unfair economically to the communities living on or near the exploited areas.
Here are the petitions that we discussed, signed and sent over. In PDF and in Word. They were addressed to the Honourable Minister Edward Fast and the Honourable Minister Peter Gordon MacKay.
Here are some links to the campaign:
From the United Church of Canada
From the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability
From Amnesty International Canada
I sent my letter 3 weeks ago and haven't received any response yet.