September 21, 2016
Newmont Mining Corporation
6363 South Fiddler’s Green Circle
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
We have recently learned that Máxima Acuña Chaupe, winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, and her husband Jaime Chaupe, have been severely injured as a result of an attack by personnel at the Yanacocha mine owned by Newmont Mining Corporation.
The couple’s daughter, Isidora Chaupe, has reported that dozens of individuals from the company’s security forces and the police force entered their property illegally and began to damage the crop area belonging to the couple. When Máxima and Jaime demanded that they stop, they were both struck. Máxima was then beaten severely as Jaime gathered equipment in attempt to record the event. Máxima has since been hospitalized with severe injuries.
This is not the first time that Máxima and her family have been terrorized by Yanacocha security forces. In fact, Máxima and her husband have had to live in constant fear as a result of harassment from these forces that includes intrusion onto the property, beatings of family members, the killing of livestock, destruction done to one of the couple’s buildings, guns being fired near the property, and being followed while coming and going from their home.
Nonetheless, we are appalled by the blatant brutality of this incident and call on Newmont to take immediate action to withdraw all security forces and other personnel from the Chaupe’s land and surrounding area. We also call on Newmont to provide every possible assurance to the Chaupe family that this deplorable act will not happen again.
As this year’s winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, Máxima Acuña was recognized for her diligent and courageous efforts to protect her home and community from environmental contamination and destruction of the local water supply. Having won a landmark court case regarding ownership of the land, her only desire is to peacefully farm this land with her husband.
Every day, environmental activists risk their lives to stand up for a clean environment, and the rights of small farmers and indigenous people. In fact, Latin America has become the most dangerous place in the world for environmental activists. Only a few short months ago, another Goldman Prize winner, Berta Caceres, lost her life as a result of her work on behalf of the environment in her native Honduras.
We stand with these activists and call on Newmont, the Peruvian government, and all those concerned to do likewise.