Victims of gang-rape in Guatemala announce lawsuit against Canadian mining company

Rosa Elbira Coc Ich and ten other indigenous Mayan Q’eqchi’ women filed a lawsuit today against Canadian mining companies HMI Nickel, and its corporate owner, HudBay Minerals, regarding mining-related gang-rapes suffered by them near a Canadian owned mining site in El Estor, Guatemala.

On January 17, 2007, the eleven plaintiffs were gang-raped by mining company security personnel, police and military during the forceful expulsion of Mayan Q’eqchi’ families from their farms and homes in the community of “Lote Ocho”. These armed evictions were sought by HMI Nickel in relation to its Fenix mining project, located in eastern Guatemala. The plaintiffs have said that, at the time of the attacks, some of their assailants wore uniforms bearing the initials and logo of HMI Nickel’s Guatemalan subsidiary, Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel.

The lawsuit, filed in HudBay and HMI Nickel’s home jurisdiction of Ontario, claims $11 million in general damages and $44 million in punitive damages.

For more information, see

HMI Nickel was previously known as Skye Resources. All shares of HMI Nickel were purchased by HudBay Minerals in 2008. HMI is currently a wholly-owned and controlled subsidiary of HudBay Minerals. HudBay Minerals did not own HMI Nickel at the time of the assaults.

The claim represents assertions that have not yet been proven in court. All defendants will have the opportunity to respond in these proceedings.

Image from Wikipedia Commons.

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