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UNBC researchers publish book examining Canadian human rights violations in Guatemala

A new book co-edited by a pair of UNBC researchers that focuses on the human rights violations forced evictions, repressions, and corruption linked to a Canadian mining company has been published.

Testimonio cover (Photo supplied by UNBC)

The book, Testimonio: Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala, is based on the research by UNBC Geography Professor Dr. Catherine Nolin and Grahame Russell, Director of Rights Action and UNBC Adjunct Professor and their direct community support in Guatemala since 2004.

The book has testimonials authored by Indigenous leaders, journalists, filmmakers, activists, lawyers, documentary photographers, and academics who document the violence of and resistance to Canadian mining operations in Guatemala.

“These are not just Guatemalan problems, these are very much Canadian problems,” explained Dr. Nolin. “What we are trying to do is shine a light, not just on Guatemala and issues there, but the Canadian decisions, decision-makers, and policy to support the Canadian extractive industry at all costs.”

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Nolin and Russell have been working together since 2004, and both have been to Guatemala to work in educational trips that teach about the community, human rights, environment, and land defense struggles highlighted in the book.

The novel is based on their long-standing research and the time they’ve spent working in solidarity with local communities.

“The work is, almost by definition, sad, angering, and inspiring at the same time,” says Russell. “At the same time, it is always inspiring to be in regular contact with the dignified, courageous women and men, elders and youth from the mining-harmed communities, who–despite the overwhelming wealth and power, corruption and impunity they confront–keep on resisting and fighting in defense of their lands, their families, and communities, their water sources, and forests, and their rights.”

Testimonio was launched virtually yesterday (Monday).

“We call on Canadians to hold our government and companies fully to account for their role in enabling and profiting from violence in Guatemala. The opportunity offered to us by publisher Between the Lines was to gather the work of the many people we’ve worked with over the years into one volume, making the evidence both damning and irrefutable,” added Dr.Nolin.


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