On Tuesday 17 September, British Ambassador James Dauris opened the roundtable “Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights: Implementation and Perspectives from the Mining Sector” at PERUMIN’s 31st Mining Convention, which took place in Arequipa. The event was organised by the embassies of Switzerland and the UK, with the support of the NGO Socios Peru - Civic Collaboration Center.
The presentation on the Voluntary Principles was made by the Executive Director of Socios Peru, Carlos Salazar, who explained the origin of the initiative, created in 2000 by the U.S. and British governments in order to implement a set of principles to guide handling of security issues and human rights in natural resource extraction areas.
Currently the rotating presidency of the initiative is held by Switzerland, in 2014 the presidency will fall to the UK. Along with Ambassador Dauris, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy in Peru, Gabriele Derighetti, took part in the discussion group.
The panel consisted of Gonzalo Mas, Senior Regional Manager of Asset Security Barrick Gold, Antonio Rios Pita, Regional Director of Security of the Newmont Mining Corporation (a major shareholder of Yanacocha), and Eduardo Rubio, Manager of External Affairs at Anglo American mining corporation. They highlighted the benefits of implementing the Voluntary Principles in the extractive sector as a positive preventive measure against social conflicts. Panel members invited the Peruvian government to take a more participatory role in the Voluntary Principles Working Group .
“With my team at the British Embassy, we are currently working on several initiatives to facilitate the development of an economic system based on rules and high standards of corporate governance and corporate social responsibility” said British Ambassador, James Dauris in his speech. “These are the goals and values we share with Peru”.
Roundtable attendees included Australian Ambassador John Woods (whose country is one of the 8 nations signed up to the Principles) and representatives from various mining and security companies, including the Director of Risk & Legal Securitas Argentina, representatives of the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy - SNMPE and representatives of the International Council on Mining & Metals.
You can see a photo gallery of the event here.