Mining projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America often give rise to environmental problems as well as forced displacement and social conflict. In many cases the rights of local populations are ignored in corporations' pursuit of profit. This was confirmed by a number of case studies analyzed by ECCHR together with its partner organizations from Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Germany and Switzerland in a series of workshops. The Tintaya Antapaccay copper mine in Peru is one example of this phenomenon. The mine is run by a local subsidiary of the Swiss-based Glencore plc, the world's biggest mining and commodities trading corporation. The communities living near the mine have for a long time raised concerns about heavy metals polluting the water and associated health problems. Glencore rejects any responsibility for the harm caused. The Peruvian authorities have made little progress with their investigations on the causes of the pollution and on remedial measures. In 2012, two protesters died when a local demonstration highlighting the situation was brutally quelled by police.
Peru and Switzerland are obliged to prevent corporations from engaging in harmful activities, such as water pollution, in or from their territory. Glencore has a duty to ensure that its business activities do not violate human rights including the rights to water and health. Switzerland reacted swiftly to the complaint made to the UN. In June 2015, the Swiss government declared it was prepared to support an international study exploring Glencore's potential responsibility for the pollution, on the condition that Peruvian authorities did the same. Glencore continues to deny any responsibility for the environmental and health problems around its mine in Peru. As far as ECCHR and its partners can establish, the Peruvian government has to date not responded to the Swiss offer to support a study.