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In an unprecedented event, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador passed a law that bans metal mining in a 70-0 vote. Despite the fact that in the past weeks mining company Oceana Gold implemented a strong campaign to block the passing of the law, the 70 MPs present ratified it, which sets a precedent at continental level in terms of environment protection and the health of the communities.
According to a statement by the Movement of Victims and People Affected by Mining and Mega-Projects (MOVIAC) the passing of the law is the result of a long process of struggle by Salvadoran environmental organizations and communities organized in Cabañas department.
In fact, during the discussions before passing the law, MP Guillermo Mata of the FMLN sector remembered those environmentalists murdered for opposing mining. "The law is tainted with blood. We thank the people who gave their lives in the struggle against mining exploration", he said.
Meanwhile, renowned environmental activist Ricardo Navarro of Friends of the Earth El Salvador said that "with this decision we are ensuring the life of an entire country, avoiding a voracious and highly polluting industry".
The law aims to ban metal mining above and below the Salvadoran territory and it covers exploration, extraction, exploitation and processing activities. It also bans the use of toxic chemicals such as cyanide, mercury and others in any metal mining process. Also, the law has a retroactive effect, which means that the permits or applications granted or under consideration by the Ministry of Economy for mining exploration and exploitation are suspended.
The passing of the law means the realization of the over two-decade long demand by environmental organizations such as the Movement of Victims and People Affected by Climate Change and Corporations (MOVIAC), who conducted a long awareness-raising campaign to denounce the serious impacts of metal mining.
Letter by FoEI
Days before the passing of the law, the Chair of Friends of the Earth International, an environmental federation with over 80 groups around the world, sent a letter to the Chair of the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly, Guillermo Gallegos, where they state that if the law is passed, it would set a precedent for other countries of the world affected by metal mining.
Below we share some photos of the historic day for Salvadoran environmentalism (MOVIAC).
En el marco de las jornadas de movilización por el Día Internacional de las Luchas Campesinas y la semana de los pueblos originarios, ofrecemos una nueva edición del programa radial conjunto de la Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo (CLOC-VC) y Amigos de la Tierra de América Latina y Caribe (ATALC) a través de Radio Mundo Real.
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