A bit late with this, but the journalist Julio Vásquez Calle who brought the kidnapping, sexual assault and torture of himself and 28 others to light is now receiving disturbingly credible death threats [for background and details of the involvement of corrupt UK Ambassador Richard Ralph and his subsequent chairmanship of Moterrico Metals, then owner of Majaz Mine (MNA.L) now re-named Rio Blanco click here]. Otto @ Inca Kola News reported it some days ago, now Amnesty International have issued a statement (ht2 Memory in Latin America)-
Journalist Julio César Vásquez Calle is pursuing a complaint to the Piura region prosecutor’s office against police officers and mining company security guards he claims tortured him while he was reporting on a protest in March 2005. On 5 February he received a phone call from a man who told him he would be killed unless he dropped his complaint. Amnesty International believes that he and the 28 members of peasant communities pursuing the same complaint are in grave danger.
The threatening caller said, “Since when is your job to help terrorists? We are going to make sure that you rot in prison if you don’t withdraw your complaint, if you don’t drop your complaint you will go to prison in pieces.” (¿Desde cuando tu trabajo es ayudar a terroristas? Nosotros nos vamos a encargar de que te pudras en la cárcel si no te retractas, si no te retractas vas a llegar a la cárcel en pedazos). Julio Vásquez said he had received several phone calls that week, but no one spoke when he answered.
Julio Vásquez and local human rights organizations had held a press conference on 6 January in the capital, Lima: they made public a series of photographs that had been delivered to them by hand, which had been taken during the torture he and 28 members of peasant communities in Piura had endured in August 2005.
Julio Vásquez works for a local radio station, Cutivalú, in the north-western Piura Region. On 1 August 2005, he had been reporting on a peaceful march by people from the Piura Region peasant communities of Segunda y Cajas and Yanta, in Piura, to the Majaz mining company staff encampment in the Río Blanco region, north of Piura, near the border with Ecuador. They had taken days to walk from their villages to the camp. While the protestors demonstrated outside the camp, Julio Vázques and 28 others say they were were stopped by police and taken into the camp, where they said they were held for three days, and tortured, by the police and security guards working for the mining company. They said they were kept blindfolded and had sacks put over their heads which contained a powder that made them vomit and made it difficult to breathe, and beaten. The two women in the group have said they were sexually assaulted.
Minera Majaz was a subsidiary of the British company Monterrico Metals. Minera Majaz was responsible for running the copper mining project Río Blanco, until February 2007, when Monterrico Metals was bought by the Chinese Consortium Zijin. Zijin now owns 89 per cent of Monterrico shares. Minera Majaz has been mining for copper since 2003 in the land of the peasant communities of Segunda y Cajas and Yanta. According to the communities, they have not obtained the two-thirds majority vote of approval by the community assembly required by law. The communities’ main objections are the pollution of their fields and water supply, the impact on the wildlife and the fact that they were not properly informed and consulted before the mining began.
Since 2006, Amnesty International has documented several cases of activists working to protect the rights of communities affected by mining projects, who have been charged with offences including terrorism, and have received death threats. None of the threats has been properly investigated and no one has been brought to justice.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO ARRIVE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, IN SPANISH OR YOUR OWN LANGUAGE:
– expressing concern for the safety of Julio César Vásquez Calle, who was threatened on 5 February;
– urging the authorities to do everything possible to guarantee his safety, and that of the others pursuing a complaint that they were tortured by police and security guards working for the Majaz mining project;
– calling on them to order a prompt and impartial investigation into the death threat and bring those responsible to justice;
– calling on the authorities to order an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations against the police and security guards, and bring those responsible to justice;
– urging them to guarantee the right of local communities affected by mining projects to information and to participate in an open, transparent and fair consultation process before any mining activities take place.
Minister of the Interior
Ministerio del Interior
Ministro del Interior
Sr. Remigio Hernaní Meloni
Plaza 30 de agosto s/n Urb. Corpac
Fax: + 51 1 225 7234
Salutation: Dear Minister/Sr. Ministro
Fiscalía de la Nación
Fiscal de la Nación
Dra. Gladys Echaíz Ramos
Av. Abancay Cuadra 5 s/n
Lima 1, PERU
Fax: + 51 1 426 2800
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Sra. Fiscal de la Nación
Human rights organization
Fundación Ecuménica para el Desarrollo y la Paz (FEDEPAZ)
Jr. Trinidad Morán 286
Lima 14, PERU
Fax: +511 421 4747
+511 421 4730
and to diplomatic representatives of Peru accredited to your country.