Droits humains avant profit


“Our products help build a better, clearer future“ – states BHP, a multinational mining, metals and petroleum company headquartered in Australia, on its website. However, according to non-government organisations, communities living near BHP mines in Latin America have for many years faced environmental issues and human rights abuses linked to the company’s activities. [1]

For example, the 2015 collapse of a dam in Brazil owned by Samarco (a joint venture between BHP and Vale SA) released more than 33 million cubic meters of mine tailings into the environment, taking the lives of 19 people and travelling 650 kilometres before reaching the Atlantic coast 17 days later. [2]

The Luxembourg Pension Fund’s 2020 annual report [3] shows that the FDC systematically invests in BHP within different portfolios (see graphic below).BHP is also the major shareholder (13.57%) of SolGold, [4] a company focusing on the development of copper- gold deposits in Ecuador. The company is listed on the London and Toronto stock exchanges. According to its corporate report released in April 2021, SolGold is the largest concession holder in Ecuador, holding 75 concessions throughout the country. One of the projects in which SolGold is involved together with BHP and other transnational companies is the Warintza Mining Project, situated on the territory of the indigenous Shuar Arutam People in the province of Morona Santiago in Ecuador.[5]

According to the organisations united in the Alianza por los Derechos Humanos Ecuador, including the ASTM partner organisation Acción Ecológica, concessions covering 60% of the territory of the Shuar Arutam People have been granted to transnational mining companies without respecting their right to free, prior and informed consent and in a context of systematic human rights violations. [6] The government of Ecuador has attempted to impose extractive activities in the territory of the Shuar Arutam People by means of various institutions and officials. This has led to an escalation of the conflict as the community refuses the mining projects. In a public complaint published in September 2021, the Alliance warned that there are significant risks to “the physical and psychological integrity of members of the community who are being intimidated, persecuted, harassed and even targeted with death threats”. [7]

On 29 January 2021, in the face of all the violations of their rights, the Governing Council of the Shuar Arutam People, together with Public Services International, filed a complaint with the ILO against the government of Ecuador for breaching the ILO Convention 169 by violating their collective rights and not consulting them on projects being carried out on their territory. [8]

In June 2021, the Alliance published the report “Rights Defenders under Threat in Ecuador, which shows that the company SolGold is involved in at least two cases of violations against human rights defenders in Ecuador. [9]

[1] Alianza por los Derechos Humanos Ecuador, Friends of the Earth, Rainforest Action Group. [2] Action Solidarité Tiers Monde (2020): Risques d’impacts des activités des entreprises sur les populations dans les pays du Sud. Études de cas du Luxembourg, p. 14 ( content/uploads/2020/10/Rapport-ASTM_webFINALE.pdf). [3] Fonds de Compensation de la Sécurité Sociale (SICAV-FIS): Annual Report, including audited financial statements as of 31 December 2020 ( Report-20201231-signed.pdf). [4] SolGold (2021): Fuelling the Sustainable Future with Copper. Corporate Presentation ( 9f6b-d0f4168e5eef/SolGold_Corporate_Investor_Apr152.pdf ). [5] [6] Alianza por los Derechos Humanos (09.09.2021): Public Complaint: We demand that Shuar Arutam People’s decisions, in the exercise of their right to self-determination, are respected, and we denounce that the beginning of infrastructure works are facilitating the entrance of mining projects in Maiki ( demand-shuar-arutam-peoples- decisions-exercise-their-right). [7] Idem. [8] Luxembourg ratified the ILO Convention 169 in 2018. [9] Alianza por los Derechos Humanos (15.06.2021): Rights Defenders Under Threat in Ecuador: How Government Protection is Insufficient and Favors Industry Interests ( how-government- protection-insufficient).

Share This