International Indigenous leaders attend Barrick Gold's Shareholder's meeting

\InternationalFoE Australia campaigner Natalie Lowrey and Neville "Chappy" Williams, Wiradjuri elder and spokesperson for Mooka and Kalara United Families are currently in Toronto as part of a speaking tour of communities affected by Barrick Gold mining operations. Check here to see campaign updates, press releases and briefing papers and a statement on carbon trading by the Indigenous caucus presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

outside the Barrick AGM, Toronto

These reports are in chronological order.
Activity has included:

  • attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York (21st April - 2nd May)
  • a speaking tour entitled 'meet the resistance: A Speaking Tour of Affected Indigenous Communities (current)

 

To support the Indigenous Speaking Tour please donate online at: http://www.protestbarrick.net

These events have been supported by Friends of the Earth Australia, ProtestBarrick.net , Western Shoshone Defence Project , Mineral Policy Institute , Save Lake Cowal , Norwegian Church Aid Tanzania and Akali Tange Association.

Full full details, please check here .

For images of the delegation, please check here .

 

press releases below

6 MAY 2008

Barrick Gold censors Indigenous Leaders' opposition to gold mining on their lands

 

A delegation of Indigenous leaders travelled around the world to attend the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting in Toronto today. They came to vent their opposition to Barrick Gold's mining practices on their lands.

The Barrick Gold AGM was beamed around the world via a live webcast but when the Indigenous delegates checked the internet they found the webcast ends with the speech by Peter Munk, the Chairman, and their powerful statements and questions have been censored.

Peter Munk was clearly uncomfortable at question time and only allowed three voices from the network of dissent to be heard. They were:

  • Jethro Tulin, CEO, Akale Tange, concerning the Porgera mine, Enga Province, Papua Niugini;
  • Neville Chappy Williams, Lake Cowal, Central New South Wales, Australia; and
  • Larsen Bill, Western Shoshone Defense Project, Nevada, USA

Barrick Gold is under pressure because the alleged gross violations of human rights perpetrated by Barrick Gold employees are gaining increasing exposure as the communities affected by Barrick Gold's operations are using the digital age to communicate around the world through email, websites, and skype . Also, a week ago, at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues delegates, whose communities are severely impacted by mining, could network and develop recommendations and strategies to make rogue mining companies more accountable.

The network of communities impacted by Barrick Gold are calling on all investors to divest their shares and no longer support a transnational corporation that perpetrates gross violations of human rights, such as alleged killings, rapes, poisoned waters, poisoned rivers, poisoned soil, and forced migration.

See today's photo by Reuters at http://www.daylife.com/photo/0bgu7pq6aH87r/barrick%2Bgold

Contact: Neville Chappy Williams or Natalie Lowrey on 0011 1 416 809 2755 or Skype: "Natalie Lowrey"


May 6th, 2008

International Indigenous leaders attend Barrick Gold's Shareholder's meeting

Barrick Annual General Meeting - Tuesday 6th May, 2008 at 10am

Toronto Convention Centre, 250 Front Street

Press Conference at 3:30pm

Hart House Board room, University of Toronto Campus, 7 Hart House Circle (off Harboard near University)

 

Indigenous leaders from Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the United States traveled to Canada this week to attend the shareholders’ meeting of Barrick Gold. Here, they will make statements against Barrick's unregulated operations on their lands.

Complaints include the killing, rape and arbitrary detention of local village people in Papua New Guinea by Barrick security, the destruction of spiritual sites in Australia and the United States, and the pollution of water resources at all of Barrick's mines. The tour is heading to Ottawa after the shareholders' meeting where they have arranged meetings with members of parliament.


At Lake Cowal, Australia, Barrick is importing 6090 tonnes of sodium cyanide into the flood plain renowned for severe flooding. “Barrick Gold has absolutely no respect for our cultural heritage and the very essence of our cultural being is at stake,” stated Neville “Chappy” Williams, Wiradjuri elder and spokesperson for Mooka and Kalara United Families, the traditional owners of the Lake Cowal area. In addition to creating an open-pit mine in the “Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation,” Barrick has confiscated thousands of Wiradjuri cultural objects from the mine site and refuses to return them to the traditional owners.


According to Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer of the Akali Tange Association, a human rights organization in Papua New Guinea, “Barrick’s Porgera Mine is a textbook case of what can go wrong when large-scale mining confronts indigenous peoples, ignoring the impacts of its projects and resorting to goon squads when people rebel against it. This outrages the conscience of local Indigenous communities, especially when the mine is right next to our homes; my people are exposed to dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury; some of our people drown in the tailings and waste during floods; and fishing stocks, flora and fauna are depleted down the river systems, leading to indigenous food sources being threatened.”


"The international community has spoken quite clearly on these matters. The United States has been told on two separate occasions to cease and desist the destructive activities on Shoshone lands and Canada has been told to rein in its corporate giants like Barrick,” stated Larson Bill, Western Shoshone Community Planner, referencing the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) in their review of Canada last year.


According to a 2005 Parliamentary Standing Committee report, “Canada does not yet have laws to ensure that the activities of Canadian mining companies in developing countries conform to human rights standards, including the rights of workers and of indigenous people.” As of 2008, these regulatory issues have yet to be resolved.

 

Larson R. Bill, Community Planner, Western Shoshone Defense Project, USA
Neville Williams, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal, Australia
Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer, Akali Tange Association, Papua New Guinea
Mark Ekepa, Chairman, Porgera Landowners Association,
Anga Atalu, Secretary, Porgera Landowners Association, Papua New Guinea

Press Advisory
Monday 5th May, 2008

Contact: Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defence Project (USA), 775 397 1371 , wsdp@igc.org

Natalie Lowrey, Friends of the Earth (Australia), 416 809 2755 natalie.lowrey@foe.org.au

WHAT: International Aboriginal Leaders Raise Barrick Gold Environmental, Human Rights and Liability Issues
WHERE: Hart House Board room, University of Toronto Campus, 7 Hart House Circle (off Harboard near University)
WHEN: 3:30 pm 6th May, 2008 immediately following the Barrick Gold Annual general meeting at 10am, Toronto Convention Centre where aboriginal delegates will be raising their concerns
WHO:
Larson R. Bill, Community Planner, Western Shoshone Defence Project, USA
Neville Williams, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal, Australia
Jethro Tulin, Executive Director, Atali Tange Association, Papua New Guinea
Mark Ekepa, Chairman, Porgera Landowners Association, Papua New Guinea
Anga Atalu, Secretary, Porgera Landowners Association, Papua New Guinea
 


MEDIA RELEASE
Sunday 4th May, 2008

Aboriginal Leaders from Around the World Unite Against Barrick Gold

Neville Chappy Williams, Wiradjuri, Australia; Larson Bill, Western Shoshone, Nevada, USA; and Ipili Leaders and representatives from Papua New Guinea – Mark Ekepa, Anga Atalu and Jethro Tulin – are at:

WHERE: Steelworkers Union Hall
25 Cecil Street, Toronto

WHEN: 7pm, Sunday 4th May 2008

Two films will be shown followed by a panel discussion:

- Wiradjuri Forever: Protect Lake Cowal (central New South Wales,  Australia)
- Our Land Our Life (Western Shoshone, Nevada, USA)

Participants are available for interview tonight and for the duration of  the Aboriginal Resistance Against Gold Mining Speaking Tour, in time to coincide with the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 6th May at 10am at the Toronto Convention Centre

And will be joined by:

Diaguita Huascolatino Leader, Sergio Campusano (Chile, Barrick’s Pascua Lama gold mine)

Tundu Lissu, Human Right Lawyer, Lawyers Environmental Action Team (Lawyer from the Bulyanhulu massacre case, Tanzania)

Contact: 416 809 2755

Larson R. Bill, Vice-Chairman for the Southfork Shoshone community, USA

Neville Williams, Mooka/Kalara United Families, Lake Cowal, Australia

Jethro Tulin, Atali Tange Association, Papua New Guinea

Mark Ekepa, Porgera Landowners Association, Papua New Guinea

Anga Atalu, Porgera Landowners Association, Papua New Guinea

www.protestbarrick.net < http://www.protestbarrick.net >


Meet the Resistance: A Speaking Tour of Affected Indigenous Communities

Over 3,000 people are attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) over the next two weeks in New York from 21st April - 2nd May, including Indigenous Nations, UN bodies, Governments and NGO's. Three Indigenous communities present at the forum are voicing their concern against the worlds largest gold mining company, Canadian owned Barrick Gold.

Five side events to the UNPFII will be held with Wiradjuri (Australia), Ipili (Papua New Guinea), Western Shoshone (Nevada, USA) and Human Rights Activists from Tanzania. These affected commnities will be talking about the desecration and destruction of their lands and fundamental by Barrick Gold. These events will include a rally at the New York State Pension Fund (invest over $100 million dollars in Barrick Gold) and a night with investigative journalist, Greg Palast and Tanzanian Human Rights Lawyer, Tundu Lissu.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 2, 2008
Indigenous Peoples Critical of Position on Carbon Trading of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Contacts: Juan Carlos, Amazon Alliance, 202-285-0153 (Spanish)
Marcial Garcia, Kuna People, ariasmarcial@hotmail.com (Spanish)
Jihan Gearon, Indigenous Environmental Network, 218-760-1370 (English)

New York City, NY – Indigenous Peoples attending the Permanent Forum are outraged that their
rejection of the carbon market has been ignored in the final report of the 7th Session of the United
Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII). The final report of the PFII hails World
Bank funded carbon trading, like the Clean Development Mechanism, as "good examples" of
partnership despite the human rights violations and environmental destruction they have caused.
"Indigenous Peoples attending the 7th session of the Permanent Forum are profoundly concerned
that our key recommendations on climate change are not being taken into account by the
Permanent Forum. This Permanent Forum was created precisely to recognize, promote, and
support the rights of Indigenous Peoples," says Florina Lopez, Coordinator of the Indigenous
Women's Biodiversity Network of Abya Yala.

Throughout the two weeks of the Permanent Forum, Indigenous community representatives have
consistently testified about the injustices associated with the clean development mechanism
projects and have asked that the Permanent Forum not promote the projects. However, in the final
report of the Permanent Forum (document E/C.19/2008/L.2) adopted today, these injustices have
been ignored.


In response, many groups under the name of the Indigenous Caucus of Abya Yala took the floor
today to express their concerns. Their statement affirmed that the recommendations of the
Permanent Forum do not properly reflect their positions. They used the opportunity to affirm their
rejection of carbon trading mechanisms and concerns over specific implementations. Over 30
organizations at the forum called for the final report to include a section outlining their concerns.
In the background paper for this session (Document E/C.19/2008/10), three projects are being
upheld to illustrate the "clean development mechanism projects that are being implemented in
indigenous peoples territories with good results." However, there are grave problems with each of
these projects including violations of the rights enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples. For example, the Jeripachi wind power project in Colombia did not get the
free, prior, and informed consent of the Wayuu people to build this wind farm in a sacred territory of
the Wayuu People. Indigenous Peoples' organizations contend the assassination of over 200
Wayuu People prior to the implementation of the project was to clear the area for this and other
projects. Additionally, most of the energy generated from the wind farm is used to power the
Cerrajon mine, the biggest open air coal mine in the world, which itself is known for numerous
human rights violations and environmental damages. Representatives of the Wayuu people who
attended the Permanent Forum didn't even know the project was being promoted as a good
example.

"In promoting the clean development mechanism projects and carbon trading, the Permanent
Forum is allowing oil companies who are the biggest emitters for greenhouse gases, to continue to
pollute," says Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
"Promoting the commodification of the air is a corruption of our traditional teachings and violates
the original instructions of Indigenous Peoples.

MEDIA RELEASE
Thursday 24th April 2007


PRESS CONTACTS:

Natalie Lowery, Friends of the Earth Australia 347-439-5829

How Green is Gold? Indigenous leaders question NY State Pension Fund investments

When:
Friday 25th April @ 12pm
Where:
New York State Pension Fund, 633, 3rd Avenue (at 41st), Manhattan, NY

An international delegation of Indigenous peoples gathered in front of the offices of the NY State Comptroller's office to deliver a formal complaint to the office's investigation Division. The delegation, which includes representatives from Australia and Papua New Guinea, with partners across the United States, South America and Africa, claims that Barrick Gold, in which the New York State Pension Fund holds almost $100 million in shares, is responsible for human rights abuses and the environmental devastation of their land.

 

"Barrick Gold has absolutely no respect for our cultural heritage and the very essence of our cultural being is at stake," says Neville "Chappy" Williams, Wiradjuri elder and spokesperson for Mooka and Kalara United Families, the traditional owners of the Lake Cowal area. In addition to creating an open-pit mine in the "Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation," Barrick has confiscated thousands of Wiradjuri cultural objects from the mine site, and refuses to return them to the traditional owners.


"My people are exposed to dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury; some of our people drown in the tailings and waste during floods; and fishing stocks, flora and fauna are depleted down the river systems, leading to indigenous food sources being threatened.," says Jethro Tullin, Chief Executive Officer of the Akali Tange Association, a human rights organization in Papua New Guinea. The Porgera mine discards its waste directly into the river system, a practice illegal in most countries, and it has forced the relocation of villages to the crowded periphery of the mine.

 

"The international community has spoken quite clearly on these matters.  We have faith that once the Pension Fund reviews our concerns they will act to investigate these situations here and abroad."  Stated Sakura Saunders of ProtestBarrick.net, referencing the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD).

 

On September 13, 2007, Comptroller DiNapoli signed an Executive Order on Energy and the Environment to make the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) a model of sustainability. Given that gold averages 79 tons of waste per one ounce of gold and that these mines rarely last more than 20 years, Barrick Gold is hardly a model of sustainability.