Help Maxima and her family in their fight against the Mining Mega-Project CONGA
This petition had 850 supporters
Now is a critical moment to show our support with Maxima Acuña Chaupe, woman defender of life, the environment and human rights.
‘I fear for my life, for the life of my husband, for the lives of my children and for the lives of the people in my community who defend us and our water’ (Máxima Chaupe).
On Tueday, August 5th, in the Juzgado Penal Unipersonal Celendín, Maxima Acuña Chaupe and her family lost the legal case brought against them by the mining company Yanacocha. The Chaupe family has been sentenced to 2 years and 8 months of suspended prison and must pay 5,500 soles to Yanacocha. While they plan on appealing this decision, Maxima and her family are at risk of losing their land and being forcibly evicted.
Máxima Acuñe Chaupe is at daily risk of being evicted from her family home in Tragadero Grande, District of Sorochuco, en the region of Cajamarca. Since 2011 she has been subjected to violent eviction attempts and continued threats from the mining company Yanaococha and the Special Operations Division of the Peruvian National Police (DINOES), who have been contracted to work for the mining company. The current high police presence in the area is a constant reminder that her home and future are no longer secure; her land is wanted for the Conga mining project. This project would destroy the mountain lakes which provide clean water to the communities in the zone, to extract gold, copper and silver.
In 1994 Máxima bought the land where she currently lives with her family. In 2011 she refused to sell it to Yanacocha for the Conga mining project. However, Yanacocha argues that the land has been sold to them directly by the managers of the Sorochuco community, and on this basis have tried to expel the family several times using the police and private security personnel.
One such incident occurred on the 10th August 2011, which left both Máxima and her daughter unconscious at the hands of the DINOES, their shelters destroyed, and various of their animals dead. Despite this the family has resisted the evictions.
More recently, Maxima stated that on 30th January 2013, DINOES entered her property and attempted to evict her and her family without any eviction order or legal mandate. Since March 2013, the DINOES have been permanently positioned outside her home. Despite Yanacocha`s claim that Maxima had previously sold her land to them and is now squatting illegally, she strongly refutes this and has the paperwork to show her ownership.
Since violent intimidation didn`t work, Yanacocha then brought the family to trial forILLEGAL OCCUPATION. This initially went in favour of the mining company; the judge of Celendín Province, on 29th October 2012, convicted the family of “illegal occupation or usurpation”, condemning them to three years suspended imprisonment and the payment of compensation in favor of Yanacocha. In July 2013 the High Court of Cajamarca overturned this ruling due to various legal and factual irregularities, including failure to consider a critical piece of evidence – the document of possession of the family.
This was not the end, however, Yanacocha has brought the family back to the courtroom as they persist in this legal harassment. The final hearing will be held on Tuesday, 3rd December in the Juzgado Penal Unipersonal Celendín, at 12 midday. The Chaupe family fears that the rulling will once again fall in favor of the mining company; they feel that up until now the Peruvian government and the judicial system have failed against their own citizens and have sided with the mining company.
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