The Canadian government is failing either to investigate or to hold the country’s massive extractives sector accountable for rights abuses committed in Latin American countries, according to petitioners who testified here Tuesday before an international tribunal.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) also heard concerns that the Canadian government is not making the country’s legal system available to victims of these abuses.
Canada, which has one of the largest mining sectors in the world, is estimated to have some 1,500 projects in Latin America – more than 40 percent of the mining companies operating in the region. According to the new report, and these overseas operations receive “a high degree” of active support from the Canadian government.
“We’re aware of a great deal of conflict,” Shin Imai, a lawyer with the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project, a Canadian civil society initiative, said Tuesday. “Our preliminary count shows that at least 50 people have been killed and some 300 wounded in connection with mining conflicts involving Canadian companies in recent years, for which there has been little to no accountability.”
These allegations include deaths, injuries, rapes and other abuses attributed to security personnel working for Canadian mining companies. They also include policy-related problems related to long-term environmental damage, illegal community displacement and subverting democratic processes.
At this week’s hearing, the Canadian government maintained that it was on firm legal ground, stating that it has “one of the world’s strongest legal and regulatory frameworks towards its extractives industries”.
In 2009, Canada formulated a voluntary corporate responsibility strategy for the country’s international extractives sector. The country also has two non-judicial mechanisms that can hear grievances arising from overseas extractives projects, though neither of these can investigate allegations, issue rulings or impose punitive measures.
These actions notwithstanding, the Canadian response to the petitioners concerns was to argue that local grievances should be heard in local court and that, in most cases, Canada is not legally obligated to pursue accountability for companies’ activities overseas.
“With respect to these corporations’ activities outside Canada, the fact of their incorporation within Canada is clearly not a sufficient connection to Canada to engage Canada’s obligations under the American Declaration,” Dana Cryderman, Canada’s alternate permanent representative to the OAS, told the commission, referring to the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the document that underpins the IACHR’s work.
Extraterritoriality is neither wholly legal nor quite illegal. It is the legally established non-space in which anything becomes possible; constituted by law and selectively applicable of its clauses. It is the architecture of moral ambiguity and an overpowering righteousness, a spatial camouflage; the typology of the technically non-existent and the minutely surveilled. It is what programmes superfluidity, codes it into landscape – fragments of territorialism de-territorialised so as to reinstate territorial limits and proper passages. It is the offshore migrant processing facility trialled by the Australian Government in the Pacific and exported to Libya via the EU, the shadow state and private armies, the practices of rendition and subcontracting of torture, the export processing zone and maquiladora regions, the USA’s Guantanamo Bay positioned on the edge of Cuba, the excision of ‘migration territories’ which retrospectively cancels refugee and migrant laws and conventions after borders have been crossed, the DMZ’s (demilitarised zones) and the growing number of ‘airport liaison officers’ from Europe, Australia and Canada situated around the globe who conduct preemptive passport checks. Extraterritoriality is the border made transportable because the significant variable to be contained and harnessed is the movements of bodies.
Iranian ex commander: New militia formed to destroy Israel in 23 years - 25 August 2016
The eradication of Israel in “23 years” is the main objective of a recently-created Iranian military unit formed to fight in Arab countries in the region, one of Iran’s former most senior military commanders has said. Retired Iranian Revolutionary Guards general Mohammad Ali Al Falaki made the comments last week while speaking of Tehran’s so-called ‘Shi'ite Liberation Army’ that conducts extraterritorial military operations, Al Arabiya reported, citing an interview with Iran’s Mashregh news agency. The former leader of the Islamic Republic’s ideologically-driven military branch noted that the Iranian special forces are fighting abroad in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Falaki claimed that the forces are specially positioned to destroy the Jewish state because they are fighting near Israel’s borders. The establishment of the first nucleus of the militia is tasked to “eradicate Israel after 23 years, especially that these battalions are now on Israeli borders,” he was quoted as saying in an invocation of prior remarks made by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In 2015, Khamenei asserted that Israel will cease to exist within three decades. In the interview with Mashregh last week, Falaki added that the ‘Shi'ite Liberation Army’ was comprised not only of Iranians but also local recruits from the embattled areas.