Monday, July 31, 2006

Mining grows as a political and social issue

Opposition to mining continues to gain prominence as a political issue in El Salvador. The relief agency Oxfam America reports that more than 1000 people participated in a week of action events on mining in El Salvador. From Oxfam's website:

In a national forum in El Salvador, the Minister of Environment, Hugo Barrera, assured participants that national and international laws will be respected in the process of approving mining projects. "“There are no laws that prohibit mining projects" Barrera said, "“but, there are mechanisms and laws for regulating them." He recognized that the Salvadoran laws may have gaps on account of inexperience. "Where the Salvadoran law falls short, we will apply regulations established in developed countries. Projects that contradict these laws and regulations will not be approved."”

Yanira Cortéz, Deputy Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights, spoke of the close relationship between human rights and the environment. "The protection of the environment is the protection of human rights. Contamination of the environment is a threat to oneÂ’s life and health. The methods that need to be taken are preventative. How will we be able to reinstate the health of people, once the damage has been done?"

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