Three bishops representing the Latin American Bishops Conference (CELAM) have met with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with proposals of how to protect vulnerable populations from the activities of extractive industries. They included Pedro Barreto, the Archbishop of Huancayo in Peru; Alvaro Ramazzini, the Bishop of Huehuetenango in Guatemala; and Roque Paloshi, the Bishop of Roraima in Brazil. Barreto is quoted as saying that the problem lies in “an economic system that places profit above the human person, an extractivism without a human face and without ethics”.

Among the proposals put forward, the bishops stressed the need for international human rights parameters to be agreed upon; for there to be co-responsibility at the global level for indigenous and non-indigenous populations, with reparations for victims of extractive industries; the avoidance of criminalisation of protest in disputes over extractives; and the quest for peaceful solutions that respect people’s culture and their environment.