Canadian mining company may be held liable for human rights abuses committed abroad by its foreign subsidiaries | rabble.ca
On July 22, 2013, Justice Brown of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released her decision on whether or not related lawsuits against three mining companies, Hudbay Minerals Inc. ("Hudbay"), HMI Nickel Inc. ("HMI") and Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel S.A. ("CGN"), would be permitted to proceed (the "Hudbay Actions"). The defendants brought preliminary motions in March of this year to strike each of the claims on the basis that they disclosed no reasonable cause of action. As discussed below, Justice Brown quite rightly dismissed all three of the defendants' motions. This is a groundbreaking decision because it will result in the first time that an action is litigated in Canada on the question of whether a Canadian parent company (i.e. Hudbay) can be held liable for the actions of its subsidiaries abroad (i.e. CGN and HMI) and, moreover, it recognizes that such a finding is in fact possible.
Over the past five years, Canadian mining companies have increasingly been thrust into the spotlight for their conduct overseas, including directing or permitting the following types of activities to occur: forcible evictions of indigenous communities from disputed land, contamination of water supply, assassination/disappearance of anti‑mining activists, and rape of local women by private security forces. In the absence of specific legislation in Canada to hold companies to required standards of conduct and weak appetite to pursue crimes committed by prosecutors in host countries such as Guatemala or the Democratic Republic of Congo, there has been little means for victims of these abuses to seek redress.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.