The growing and strong movement against mining in Haiti is underestimated

Posted by on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Under: others
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Elsie Florestan integrates Tet Kole peasant organization Ti Peyizan (small farmers) in the community of Machabyèl Lembe in the northern region of Haiti that is part of some 4000 km2, equivalent to 15% of the 
Haïtian territory leased to foreign companies for exploration and mining.

Experts say that the reserves of gold, silver and copper are worth 20 billion US dollars; Florestan is poor, has 11 children and lives in a house with large gaps in Machabyèl. But he is convinced that mining of copper and gold will not be beneficial for the country of 10 million people.

"If the mining companies coming in, would organize a lock to prevent access to the site?", He questioned. Many people and many organizations in this region are opposed to mining. In recent years, there is a strong resistance movement growing, to confront the mining companies.

With the help of the World Bank, the subject of mining is back in Haiti today through a bill to make this attractive business for investors and comply with the slogan "Haiti is open for business", promoted by President Michel Martelly to the massive expansion of the mining sector. The legislative initiative, which could be approved by the new Parliament elected on October 25 and will assume at the beginning of 2016, there are over 280 Articles that will distribute more flexible licensing and control, which would open the entry of foreign companies interested in mining.

 In addition to including the creation of a new agency, the National Authority of Mines, the bill includes requirements for the exploitation of mineral resources, the general conditions of eligibility of resources, exploration licenses and operating areas of exploration permits, the mining machinery Gold administrative supervision of the processing and marketing of mineral products, renovation and expansion of the mining rights.

Lack of transparency, however, many national and international organizations have complained that the bill was written without the participation of the population. According to them, the initiative is a threat to the environment and state institutions. According to Phanes Thélusma activist Kolektif Jistis Min (Collectif Justice Minerale), an organization that trains and provides information on mineral resources of the populations living around the mining areas and includes more than 20 organizations of Haitian civil society that oppose, "people are willing to fight against mining."

Several documentaries have been shown to the public, pointing the enormous negative impact of this activity in other countries and allows them to see that mining is a great danger to the country. "Inspired by the experiences of several countries in Latin America and Africa, these organizations are reluctant to admit mining in Haiti, that could probably generate growth and employment.

These community organizations have mobilized and trained for mining resistance networks. The Kolektif Jistis Min, with other local and international organizations have submitted complaints in January with the World Bank and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against the bill. The complaint, which was supported by the Clinical Global Justice at New York University, was rejected by the World Bank. The document requesting an Inspection Panel to examine whether the support for the Haitian government has complied with the guidelines on transparency and environmental safety.

The national organizations and international authorities agree that Haiti is not ready for the extraction of gold. In 2013, the Senate said that "the time was insufficient to carry out transactions that would allow the operation of our strategic resources" taking into account "the current inability of the country to negotiate quietly Its' mineral resources in a context of political imbalance . " Taking into account the military occupation of the country by multinational forces.

Serious risk to the environment inherent in this type of activity and the already alarming degradation of our environment.

Haiti is the most deforested country in the Americas with a forest coverage of less than 1%. To exploit these mines, cutting of vegetation is necessary so that the mountains can be dug up in search of gold and other precious metals, leaving Haiti with an even more dangerously fragile environment.

While mining would benefit Haiti in the short term, the long-term consequences are too great to ignore.
The exploration and mining in whatever parts of Haiti at this stage is highly irresponsible.

"In August, the British humanitarian organization Oxfam presented the report" Ready for gold? History of Haiti ", which assesses governance in Haiti and the regulatory capacity of the state to mining on a large scale." Although Haiti has received considerable amounts of development aid since the 1990s, which has increased after the earthquake 2010- the public financial management system (including its institutions, its human, technical and financial, and their laws and policies) remains weak, inefficient and prone to corruption. There are some indicators, as appropriate, [showing] that the public financial management system of Haiti lacks the capacity to effectively manage the expected windfall from the extraction and export of minerals from the basement of Haiti, "said Oxfam." There is important work to do to meet greater challenges of governance, rather than the potentially important mining revenues that will be injected into the system, "he said.

The majority of Haitians in the Diaspora is against mining in Haiti as well. They fear that eventually the money generated will not benefit the people of Haiti; Haitian bureaucracy itself too corrupt, can not control the abuse of these greedy companies.

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