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9 Nov 2016

Sandra Rubin, Lexpert (Canada)

Commentary: Canadian court decision allowing alleged modern slavery case in Eritrean mine against Nevsun to go forward can have implications across industries

"Decision to hear slavery case has implications across industries", 7 Nov 2016

A decision by the Supreme Court of British Columbia giving three Eritrean men the green light to proceed with a modern-day slavery lawsuit against Vancouver-based Nevsun Resources Ltd. in Canada rather than Eritrea has implications for hundreds of Canadian companies that do business or have suppliers based in countries with questionable human-rights records...The decision...marks the first time a Canadian court has agreed to hear a tort claim for modern slavery...Nevsun’s involvement in the policy and affairs of the mine’s operating subsidiary was in excess of the “normal role of association” between a holding company and a subsidiary...Justice Abrioux allowed the claims that Nevsun was an accomplice to crimes against humanity, slavery, forced labour and torture to go forward...Using the argument that a corporation can be sued civilly for “aiding and abetting” such crimes is believed to be a case of first impression...[T]he same argument may be used against all kinds of public companies whose supply chain extends into countries with dubious human-rights records...