In November last year, there was the first national meeting of the many groups affected by heavy metals contamination in mining areas. That meeting, a promising move, ended with an agreement for a national forum of all the groups represented.

It is therefore disappointing to hear that the Ministry of Health is announcing a ‘sectoral commission’ to elaborate a national policy for the integrated treatment of those affected. This is to be formed exclusively of ministry officials with no representation from either independent experts or those affected.

The group from Cerro de Pasco that led ‘a march of sacrifice’ last year and camped in front of the ministry in Lima has now returned to demand the honouring of agreements previously reached.