On 14 February 2013, Amnesty International Canada was granted leave to intervene in an important and precedent-setting corporate accountability case.
The case is being brought against Canadian company HudBay Minerals and its subsidiaries, involving allegations of gross human rights violations that took place in Guatemala in 2007 and 2009. Maya-Q’eqchi’ villagers from eastern Guatemala claim that security personnel employed by HudBay’s local subsidiary shot and killed school-teacher and anti-mining activist Adolfo Ich Chamán, shot and paralyzed youth German Chub Choc, and gang-raped 11 Maya-Q’eqchi’ women.
The defendant companies brought motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims, on the basis that a parent company can never owe a duty of care to those who may be murdered, harmed or raped by security personnel employed by the company’s subsidiary in a foreign country. Originally, the defendants had also claimed that these lawsuits could not be heard in Canada, but they recently and unexpectedly dropped this argument.