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A report by SOMO & Green Advocates sheds light on the negative human rights impacts of companies with Liberian operations

ArcelorMittal_youth_protest

A report by Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and Green Advocates entitled ‘Liberia Back in Business?' raises concerns regarding the human rights impacts of several companies with Liberian operations. The most serious of these concerns relate to the community impacts of ArcelorMittal, Golden Veroleum Liberia and Liberian Agricultural Company's operations. The 'Liberia Back in Business' report, statements by GVL and ArcerlorMittal, as well as an article regarding a government investigation into Liberian Agricultural Company, are provided.

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Article
30 June 2015

SOMO & Green Advocates report: ‘Liberia Back in Business? Conflict and human rights issues in a post conflict environment’

Author: SOMO & Green Advocates

‘Liberia Back in Business? Conflict and human rights issues in a post conflict environment’, 30 Jun 2015: Private sector investments in Liberia so far have delivered only limited development to the majority of people living in Liberia. Human rights violations as a result of business activities are creating tension and conflicts between communities and companies…and state institutions. Conflicts over land rights are increasingly turning violent, which, in a context where land disputes were one of the factors causing the civil war, could potentially undermine Liberia’s fragile peace. To avoid involvement in human rights abuses and becoming an actor in conflicts that risk reigniting violence, businesses operating in Liberia should conduct enhanced due diligence to prevent…causing human rights violations…

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Article
28 May 2015

Liberia: GVL response regarding Butaw Youth Association grievances and protest against the company

Author: Golden Veroleum Liberia

'GVL responds to Sinoe incident', 28 May 2015:…“We are…deeply concerned by the actions of…the Butaw Youth Association [BYA], who…resorted to mob violence, vandalism and looting,” said Stephen Binda, GVL Spokesman…On Sunday May 24, GVL received a letter from the BYA requesting immediate meeting with management…[who] replied…that due to the short notice the meeting should be [re]scheduled…On…Tuesday May 26 approximately 20-25 members of the BYA…broke through the gate and attacked…rocks were thrown at vehicles. The BYA group attacked…staff quarters…rooms [were] looted and both company and personal property…destroyed and stolen…[O]ne GVL manager…was held captive…Two employees were injured seriously...Several…staff were…threatened…“We understand…this situation stems from the frustration of local youth…[over] lack of…jobs.  The BYA letter to GVL [referred to]…an ongoing boundary dispute…for oil palm expansion. GVL policy is to not enter into disputed areas.” The Butaw youth letter also mentioned the TFT report…“We believe that GVL has lived up to the report and our commitments…“We call for a clear way forward…[with] local communities and citizens…”, says Binda.

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Article
13 April 2015

Liberia Agricultural Company fined by govt following deaths, injuries of employees

Author: Alvin Worzi, Daily Observer (Liberia)

'GoL Imposes US$100K Fine On LAC', 13 Apr 2015: The Liberian government has imposed a fine of US$100K on…Liberia Agricultural Company due to...breaches that led to the deaths of six employees…[and] serious injuries [to eleven others]…Labor Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe said…the explosion that caused the deaths and injuries was due to…[a] lack of appropriate occupational safety and health…on the plantation…He stressed that the LAC management should provide adequate and appropriate benefits to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the accident…

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Article
13 March 2015

Liberia: ArcelorMittal comments on community protests over displacement, loss of crops, dissatisfaction with compensation

Author: ArcelorMittal Liberia

'Community dialogue: Liberia: Managing expectation', 2014:...Liberia is a good example of the importance of understanding and managing community expectations…Members of the local community however, expected the benefits to their livelihoods to be more substantial, and the transformation to happen sooner. This led to demonstrations outside our mining sites, which regretfully escalated to violence, criminal damage and police intervention. The demonstrators alleged that we had not fulfilled the terms of our mining agreement, paid wages, or compensated people for houses and crops affected by our operations. They also claimed we had not invested in local infrastructure. The demonstrations were, in large part, the result of misunderstandings. We accept we can improve how we manage these expectations, and we will be changing and improving the way we engage with and listen to local communities as a result…

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