Social and environmental conflicts from mining extractivism in Chile, Armenia and ZambiaAgain and again, the electronics industry demands non-renewable mineral resources to sustain its current predatory model of capitalist production and consumption. This first round table discussion will include the presentation of three reports on social and environmental impacts in three mining regions: Chile, Armenia and Zambia.
Communities that suffer from mining extractivism are faced with serious violations of human rights and their local surroundings are seriously affected. Local ways of life are radically transformed (for example, agriculture becomes impossible with the exhaustion of water, or visitors to tourist areas are lost as a result of mining and the forced removal of the local population), pollution becomes serious, biodiversity is lost, and local sources of water are eliminated. Meanwhile, any protests against these projects are criminalized.
Sebastian SmartWith a PhD in Human Rights and Latin American Studies from the University College of London (UCL) and a Law Degree from the Catholic University of Chile, Smart has worked to defend human rights regarding transnational justice, social movements, natural resources, digital governance, public policy and social policy in organizations based in Chile, Haiti and the United Kingdom. At the MSC, he will present a report prepared with support from War on Want and CATAPA on the Los Pelambres copper mine in Chile.
Anna ShahnazaryanAn environmental and feminist activist for the Armenian Environmental Front, since 2010 Shahnazaryan has participated in different campaigns against local and multinational mining companies and their negative impact on local communities. At the MSC, she will present the “Save Amulsar” campaign, which seeks to protect the spa town and mountain of Amulsar, in Armenia, from a proposed open-pit gold mine. This campaign obtained a significant boost from the 2018 protests against Armenia’s authoritarian government, which was eventually toppled. At the MSC, Anna Shahnazaryan will explain to what degree international political pressure and the neoliberal global financial system played a key role in the Amulsar mining project.
Linda Scott JakobssonA researcher and specialist in procurement for the Swedish NGO Swedwatch, which investigates companies’ impacts on human rights and the environment. At the MSC, Linda Scott Jakobsson will discuss the impact of copper mining in Zambia on human rights, specifically regarding pollution and the forced displacement it causes.
Modern slavery, forced labour and suicides in the electronics industryThe second round table will focus on the analysis of modern slavery and the working conditions in the electronics industry.
The first report presented will look at how these working conditions are linked to suicides in multiple electronics factories in China. A second report will look at Eastern Europe, another productive region for the electronics industry. Participants will discuss mobilizations against Hungary’s new “Slave Law”, which was approved last December. This law represents a significant step back in workers’ rights, as it allows employers to impose up to 400 hours of overtime on employees. Finally, participants will explain the impact of the arrival of Foxconn (one of the main suppliers for brands such as Apple) in the Czech Republic on working conditions there.