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Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto

April 30, 2009

Indigenous Community Leaders Confront Barrick Gold in Toronto


On April 29th, as Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold held its annual general meeting inside Toronto's Metro Convention Centre, a colourful protest took place across the street.

Indigenous leaders from Diaguita territory in Chile, affected by Barrick's upcoming Pascua Lama mega-project, and from Ipili territory in Papua New Guinea, were permitted to address the AGM as proxy shareholders.

While the company recognized that there have been "some deaths" around the mine in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, Barrick vehemently denied any link to or responsibility for the documented extrajudicial killings, harassment by company security forces, or - more recently - the grave human rights violations currently continuing under a State of Emergency in Porgera.

A national newspaper in Papua New Guinea ran a
front page story on April 30th about security forces burning the homes of several hundred landowners living around the mine. Community activists involved with the Porgera Landowners' Association estimated that the number of torched homes has reached between 500-600 as of April 30th.

Protest Barrick, an activist network that has been working to link affected communities and raise awareness about the issues they are facing, has organized a speaking tour in southern Ontario and Montreal over the next two weeks, with the participation of affected community leaders.

Toronto-based independent photo-journalist Allan Lissner has published an excellent article and photos about the AGM protest on his website. Free Speech Radio News and a few other media covered the protest and indigenous community leaders' presence; however, once again, the mainstream media only reported on Barrick Gold's AGM, noticeably omitting any mention of indigenous leaders Sergio Campusano and Jethro Tulin's messages inside the AGM itself.

photo #1: "Your Canada Pension Plan Investments at Work"
photo #2: "Global Resistance to Canadian Mining"
photo #3: Jethro Tulin, indigenous Ipili human rights activist from Porgera, Papua New Guinea
photo #4: Sakura Saunders, ProtestBarrick.net

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