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5/17/17

Regarding the MiningWatch legal action brought against Peru

Today, MiningWatch Canada announced that it had started legal action against Peru (more precisely, several specific State entities of the country) due to the events of the third weekend in April when MiningWatch's Jen Moore, along with a US journalist colleague, were arrested, detained and a day later deported from the country after holding a presentation and showing a documentary against HudBay in the city of Cuzco (the nearest large city to HudBay's Constancia mine). Here's how the MiningWatch NR begins:
(Ottawa) On Tuesday, MiningWatch Canada filed a motion for habeas corpus in a Peruvian court in response to the illegal and arbitrary detention of the organisation’s Latin America Program Coordinator Jen Moore and American journalist John Dougherty on April 21 in Cusco, Peru, following a screening of a film about Hudbay Minerals’ operations in the Americas. The legal action against the Peruvian Interior Ministry, the Security Department in Cusco, and migration authorities in Cusco, seeks to stop the criminalization of the MiningWatch worker and to prevent future police surveillance, harassment, arbitrary detention, and criminalization against her and any other foreign researchers, journalists, public speakers, and human rights defenders. Continues here.

It's complete bullshit and nobody should fall for the hand-wringing nonsense about Human Rights or Free Speech being peddled to justify this smokescreen legal action. What's more, it's easy to explain:
1) Jen Moore and John Dougherty entered Peru on tourist visas. This means they cannot perform gainful employment legally.
2) Not only that, but according to Peruvian law (not opinion, not justice, not custom but the country's well-established law) no foreign citizen* is permitted to involve itself in political activity in the country.
3) Jen Moore and John Dougherty not only broke the terms of the tourist visa, but they also broke the law of the land where they were located.
4) Therefore, the State of Peru and its police and immigration forces were absolutely within their rights to detain the two people and immediately deport them once they had proof they were both working (i.e. presenting the documentary made by Dougherty under the auspices of MiningWatch) and making political opinion without previous permission.

And that's it, the whole story. The fit of pique demonstrated by MiningWatch today has a lot more to do with two details: 1) Jen Moore won't be allowed into Peru again without the type of pending habeas corpus action and 2) it's really easy to start a legal action in Peru and it can be spun out indefinitely, thereby gaming the system. Free speech and human rights my ample buttocks, these people broke the law! Period.

For the record, I'm not against MiningWatch and on many occasions I think they've done good work on meaningful and important cases, Canada needs organizations such as these in order to keep its sometimes sketchy and rule-bending mining industry in check. But Jen Moore has lost plenty of kudos in the eyes of IKN today, this is just sneaky backdoor political maneuvering, exactly of the type she accuses mining companies and their toadies. You broke the law, Jen. They kicked you out and had every right to do so. Suck it up and STFU.

*Without residency. If you have your permanent residency papers in order you can shout your mouth off 24/7.