After a ten year long wait, the women of Lote 8 finally had the opportunity to give their testimony against Hudbay Minerals. The 11 women travelled to Canada in November to tell their story; they were gang raped during a violent eviction by Guatemalan national police and Hudbay mine security in 2007 and are bringing a lawsuit against the company in an Ontario court. The women travelled to Toronto in groups of 3 to 4, along with accompaniers who supported and translated during the trip.
The Fenix Nickel Mine, previously owned by Canadian company Hudbay Minerals, is located in El Estor, Guatemala but claims to own land throughout the region, including the land of the community of Lote 8. Violent evictions have been common over the years, as well as attacks against human rights defenders and criminalization; Community leader Adolfo Ich, an outspoken opponent to the Fenix Nickel mine, was assassinated by mine security on September 27, 2009. German Chub Choc was also injured in the incident. The head of the security at the time, Mynor Padilla was found not guilty in Guatemalan courts for the attack in 2016, despite eye witnesses stating he pulled the trigger. Hudbay is also on trial in Canada for theses attacks.
The women have showed great courage not only when giving their testimony, but over the last 10 years, continuing their struggle for justice against Hudbay Minerals. Company officials have tried to intimidate the women and pressure them to drop the case in Canada. However, they have held strong.
BTS staff applied for the women’s visas to Canada, helped to organize logistics, travelled with one of the groups to Toronto and accompanied the women while in Canada.
For more information on the women’s visit read The Guardian: Guatemalan women take on Canada’s mining giants over ‘horrific human rights abuses