Private companies and the police: recent events in Espinar
26 September 2015
The issue of contracts between private companies and the police for security services has been a cause of grave concern now for several years, particularly with regard to the management of protest in the mining sector. The issue has arisen again in Espinar in the highlands of Cuzco, around the new mine of Antapaccay being brought into production by Glencore Antapaccay, formerly Xstrata Tintaya S.A..
The Peruvian NGO Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras (DHSF), based in Cuzco, has published a five-page detailed report highlighting police handling of what it claims was a peaceful protest at the mine on 11 September. This was triggered by what the communities see as the company's failure to resolve problems of water scarcity and contamination as the mine gets under way.
Some 30 people gathered, bringing their dead animals, deaths which they claim that were caused by the drying up of water sources as a result of the mine. They were met with force, according to DHSF. The local public prosecutor (fiscal) detained four people, and DHSF’s account details the procedures that were not followed. In particular it highlights the misuse of preventative detention and the failure to provide immediate medical attention and legal aid of the prisoners' choosing.
Once again, DHSF argues, the cases point up the danger of allowing companies to maintain contracts with the security forces in a non-transparent way (civil society organisations have repeatedly asked for such contracts to be published) and how people's constitutional right to peaceful protest is being violated https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=1412917909030453&story_fbid=1492415367747373
There is an on-going case in the English courts examining the relationship between Xstrata plc, its wholly-owned subsidiary and the police, and whether the UK-registered company shared any responsibility for violent human rights abuses carried out by the police on its property in 2012.