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In Plaza Lavalle, Buenos Aires, Argentina, outside the Supreme Court of Justice, El Algarrobo assembly of Andalgalá, Catamarca province, is carrying out the 2nd Campsite for Life. They are demanding a ruling related to an environmental protection appeal submitted six years ago.
On February 16, the demonstrators delivered a petition to the Supreme Court of Justice with thousands of signatures gathered in Andalgala and Buenos Aires city to demand a ruling. The environmental protection appeal submitted by the people in 2010 sued the provincial authorities and Yamana Gold mining company (Canada, owner of the Agua Rica project), demanding a ban against this initiative and requesting protection of water sources and the health of local inhabitants.
According to La Vaca news outlet “the case reached the Supreme Court, a campsite in 2014 pushed the General Prosecutor, Alejandra Gils Carbó, to issue an expert opinion where she discusses the possible “irreversible damage” the mining activity would cause In the region, but there wasn´t any ruling during 2015.
The members of El Algarrobo assembly submitted the petition to the Supreme Court of Justice joined by 1980 Nobel Peace Prize, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Nora Cortiñas and Mirta Baravalle and several MPs. Earlier they had participated in a press conference. There, Pérez Esquivel said that “a protection appeal that takes six years to be solved is the opposite to protection”, and he added that “this is a flaw of the right to justice” which cannot happen, “not even by the Supreme Court”, according to La Vaca.
The organization Friends of the Earth Argentina highlighted in an interview for Real World Radio that Andalgalá is a town with 20,000 inhabitants and that in Argentina “open-pit megamining started in Catamarca” with the exploitation “Bajo la Alumbrera, which has been operating and polluting three provinces for over 18 years, without having generated the wealth promised”.
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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