There are lingering tensions among victims of rape by employers of Canadian miner Barrick Gold at its Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea’s Enga province.
This follows the conclusion of Barrick’s remedy programme under which it provided compensation to rape victims.
The compensation relates to brutal sexual violence, including gang rape and imprisonment, by security staff at the Porgera mine.
Some 120 women received “remedy packages” but had to sign legal waivers that they would not sue Barrick in civil court.
However, eleven other victims rejected the settlement and with representation by EarthRights International, negotiated a separate settlement from Barrick, far higher than what the remedy programme women got.
Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada says that Barrick subsequently topped up the 120 women with additional funding, but their compensation is still only about a quarter of what the eleven women got.
She says while the disparities have caused divisions, Barrick has trumpeted the success of its remedy programme.
“As soon as Barrick had provided this remedy to these 120 women and got them all to sign the legal waivers, Barrick came out with a big publication. They presented the publication at the United Nations, this UN forum on business and human rights, and they said you know this has all gone very, very well and that this was a fair and equitable remedy. But clearly it wasn’t fair and equitable because women who were represented by proper independent legal representation received a higher remedy.”