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1 Mai 2020

Bennett Jones, on Mondaq

Commentary: Canadian Court ruling opens the way for lawsuits against companies for human rights abuses committed abroad

"Canada: Canadian Companies May Now Be Sued In Canada For Alleged Human Rights Abuses Abroad, Rules Supreme Court Of Canada", 27 Apr 2020

A small group of former Eritrean workers has won a narrow, but important, preliminary victory at the Supreme Court of Canada in a British Columbia lawsuit that alleges human rights abuses against a Canadian company operating outside Canada. A slim majority of judges concluded that the case could proceed forward against a British Columbia-based, Canadian mining company, dismissing a defence motion to strike out the claims at a preliminary stage...

...Both the British Columbia Supreme Court and British Columbia Court of Appeal had earlier held that the Eritrean plaintiffs, who advance claims in respect of their prior alleged work at a gold mine in Eritrea, could proceed with their lawsuit against the Canadian company. The workers sought remedies in British Columbia for the Canadian company's alleged complicity in practices they claim were human rights abuses—forced labour, slavery, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and crimes against humanity—that were allegedly carried out by the mine's owner, an Eritrean company owned in the minority by the Eritrean government and in the majority by indirect subsidiaries of Nevsun.

The lawsuit will now proceed forward towards a hearing of the case on its merits...

...the door may be opening somewhat for transnational corporate accountability claims.



Part of the following timelines

Eritrean refugees file claim in Canada against Nevsun over allegations of forced labour at Bisha mine, Eritrea

Canada: Supreme Court rules Canadian courts can hear case against Nevsun Resources for human rights abuses allegedly committed in Eritrea

Nevsun lawsuit (re Bisha mine, Eritrea)