Samantha Cole | All Africa | 15 September 2016
Today is exactly one year since public reports of the UN 2015 Geneva “criticism” of Canadian Mining Companies.
On September 15, 2015, online media reports exposed the UN Human Rights Committee discussions in Geneva, Switzerland in which there was much focus on the activities of mining companies from Canada.
In the usual non-committal manner in which the UN does everything, the Human Rights Committee “addressed a series of concerns” about the problems caused by Canadian mining companies who operate mines around the world.
Was that was the best they could do?
Only to address concerns?
Women are being raped, men are being killed, village homes are being destroyed, environments are being poisoned, in certain areas in the world, these Canadian mining companies are causing devastation and misery beyond description and the most these UN officials were able to come up with, was that they “addressed a series of concerns”.
An article published by “The Diplomat” on September 15, 2015, reported:
- Barrick Gold, were allegedly involved in a mass rape of 137 local women aged between 14 and 80 in Papua New Guinea.
- Acacia Mining (Barrick’s daughter mining company in Africa) were liable, “through complicity, for killing and injuring of locals at the North Mara mine by police guarding the mine,” … .
- Violence at the North Mara project was allegedly perpetrated by mine security and local police… ..
- Likewise, allegations of extreme violence, killings, and the mass rape targeting local women in Papua New Guinea, where Barrick Gold has managed the Porgera mine… ..
- Barrick Gold’s (practices) was also called out by the local alliance Justice Foundation for Porgera for the “catastrophically changed” subsistence and livelihoods of landowners in Papua New Guinea.
It is undisputed that the Canadian Government has ignored the complaints about mining companies operating overseas. The Government is perfectly aware of the public scandals of mining companies involving illegal activities such as corruption, bribery and fraud, not to mention murder, violence, rape, environmental disasters, etc – but they take no notice.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have a special unit to investigate Canadian companies operating overseas who are reported to be involved in corruption or fraud or other illegal activities. The RCMP will bring these Canadian mining giants such as Barrick Gold to account for their corruption and fraud activities overseas.
Similarly, in the UK, the Serious Fraud Unit (SFO) have been very successful in the past year cracking down on British companies who are guilty of corruption, fraud and other such crimes in Africa.
Acacia Mining, Barrick’s daughter company, has had a shocking run over the past 14 months in Tanzania since Bloomberg first published the story of the US$ 115 million case that Acacia are facing from the local mining company, Bismark Hotels (Mining) Limited for financial damages arising from Acacia losing Bismark’s mining concession. In this case, allegedly, Acacia is also involved in a very serious case of possible corruption and fraud involving at least one or more officials in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
If that was not enough this year, they have also been found guilty of tax evasion to the tune of US$ 41 million. And, the headaches continued with the public lambasting of their company in the Tanzanian Parliament.
There is more (like 255 legal cases against them) but let’s not labour the point… .
Needless to say, our friends in the UN Human Rights Committee have not taken any notice of the crimes and illegal activities by Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining:
Chile, Dominican Republic, Philippines, USA, England, Papua N Guinea, Canada, Tanzania, Argentina.
Dominican Republic, Tanzania; Argentina; USA, Papua N Guinea.
All around the world, these two mining companies are causing havoc, distress and misery.
Human Rights Watch published a report [pdf file] last year that states clearly that Barrick Gold are known for problems involving human rights and hazardous substances and wastes. In addition, the report exposes “Barrick Gold had also not been transparent… .. ” and “sexual violence”.
Will someone in the UN Human Rights Committee stand up, ONE YEAR later, and have the courage to say to Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining, who together making up the biggest gold miners in the world, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
In Swahili, we say TUMECHOKA!!
Are you, in the UN, all talk or do you really care ?