Press Release: June 12, 2006

For Immediate Release

National Debate Opens on Human Rights and Environmental Standards for Mining and Energy Companies.

Canadian civil society organizations are calling on the government to move beyond voluntary measures to ensure that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies uphold international human rights and environmental standards while operating abroad.

This Wednesday, the Canadian government will be launching a series of national roundtables on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the extractives sector. The first roundtable, to take place in Vancouver on June 14-15, will focus on standards and benchmarks. The government is bringing Canadian and international experts together to participate in the discussions.

The roundtables are welcomed by many civil society organizations, but only as a first step in dealing with widespread human rights and environmental violations perpetrated by Canadian mining, oil and gas companies.

“This is not just a case of a few bad apples,” says Gerry Barr, President-CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation.

“Canadian mining companies are implicated in human rights violations and environmental disasters in more than 30 countries including toxic dumping, the destruction of protected areas, forcible displacement of indigenous peoples, and threats and intimidation of local communities.”

Canadian civil society organizations are critical of voluntary codes to regulate Canadian companies. Voluntary compliance does not ensure that companies respect human rights and the environment. Canadian policy and legal changes are needed to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights violations and environmental destruction perpetrated by these companies outside of Canada.

Vancouver roundtable: June 14-15, Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University, 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Available for interviews: Civil Society Experts on Human Rights, Environment, and Mining-Affected Communities.

Also available for interview:  Miguel Palacin Quispe, from Peru, is the founder and President of the National Confederation of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining. Miguel is the sole Southern delegate invited by the Government to the Vancouver roundtable (Spanish-speaking only, interpreter available)

Download media briefing note

For more information contact:
Andrea Botto
Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability
Tel: (613) 789-9368 (June 12)
Tel: (613) 255-1373 (June 13-16)