STATEMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE OF EL SALVADOR IN LIGHT OF RECENT CALLS MADE BY THE OMBUDSMAN FOR THE DEFENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HUMAN RIGHT TO ADEQUATE FOOD AND WATER AND THE THREAT OF METAL MINING IN THE COUNTRY.
The Environmental Alliance of El Salvador is a network of organizations unified on their demand for sustainable management of the environment in El Salvador. We are made up by the Water Forum , the Food Sovereignty Roundtable, the Permanent Coalition for Environmental Risk Management, the National Movement Against Mega Projects ,and the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining.
We are concerned about the lack of discussion of environmental issues by the candidates and political parties participating in the presidential campaign and elections scheduled for Feb. 2014. Alarmed by this lack of discussion on issues related to the protection, promotion and implementation of the human rights to water and adequate food, and the ominous threat to the environment represented by pending metal mining projects, we state:
- On Friday, November 29th, the Ombudsman for the Defense of Human Rights in El Salvador, David Ernesto Morales, reiterated in a public statement his institution's position that the Salvadoran government should legislate a constitutional amendment to recognize the human right to water and adequate food, and to eliminate the serious threat that metal mining represents to the fulfillment these rights.
- As Environmental Alliance we endorse and strongly support the call made by the Human Rights Ombudsman to the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, in particular we call on the Committee on Legislation and Constitutional Affairs, and the Committee on the Environment and Climate Change(CMAYCC ) to honor commitments mandated of our national legislation and numerous international treaties on the matter.
- We denounce the lack of consensus on the CMYACC , and the systematic blocking bills such as the General Water Law, the Law of Food Sovereignty, the Special Law to Prohibit Metallic Mining and reforms to the Civil Protection and Prevention of Disaster Law presented by sectors of civil society with broad representation and proven technical capacity to develop coherent and proposals aimed at reversing the severe socio-environmental situation that our country suffers .
considering the issues mentioned above, and in support of the appropriate remarks made by the Human Rights Ombudsman of El Salvador, as a widely represented Environmental Alliance we reiterate to the political parties and their presidential candidates:
- Our strong rejection of Government Programs submitted by all political parties and their candidates, as they do not provide clear proposals and viable solutions for sensitive and urgent issues for the Salvadoran population, such as rights to water and food, the threat of mega mining and hydroelectric projects and comprehensive environmental risk management policies.
- We urge the Commission on the Environment and Climate Change to continue the discussion and approval of the remaining articles of the General Water Law, proposed by the Water Forum this past November. We denounce that the discussion on this law has been stalled by the prevalence of private and corporate interests represented by right-wing political parties that refuse to recognize the urgency of ensuring a new institutional and publicly accountable legal framework for sustainable water management.
- We urge the Commission on Agriculture to begin discussions of the Law of Food and Nutritional Sovereignty presented by the Food Sovereignty Roundtable in October 2013. Discussion on this proposal is still pending and should be addressed by the Legislature immediately to start a real debate on the need to strengthen national food production, small farms and agro-ecological production, the rescuing of native seeds, gender equity in access to productive resources such as land, water and credit, support for the creation and strengthening of local food markets, and nutritional education for the public.
- We demand the discussion and approval of the Special Law to Prohibit Metallic Mining presented by the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in October 2013 . This proposal seeks to formalize, through legislation, the broad consensus on the unfeasibility of mining in El Salvador. Discussion and approval of this legislation is particularly urgent due to the generation of social conflict and polluting effects that this industry could bring to the country, given the interest of new and larger mining companies, as Australia's Oceana Gold.
We reiterate to the political parties and their candidates the urgent need to include clear proposals regarding social and environmental issues affecting the population, particularly to considering that important public figures such as the Ombudsman for the human Rights have already made this call.