Eritrea: UN has received reports of use of forced labour at Nevsun's mine from "numerous sources"; includes company's comments

The Security Council's Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea - has found evidence of forced labour practices at Nevsun's Bisha mine in Eritrea. Nevsun has in the recent past denied existence of forced labour at its mine.

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7 May 2020

Commentary: Canadian Nevsun ruling has big implications for human rights cases

Author: Alisha Hiyate, Canadian Mining Journal (Canada)

"Legal contents: What the Nevsun human rights case means for other Canadian miners", 6 May 2020

A recent Supreme Court decision pertaining to Nevsun Resources could have big implications for other Canadian mining companies with foreign operations, opening them up to human rights claims stemming from their operations abroad.

The lawsuit against Nevsun, Nevsun vs. Araya, alleges that the company was complicit in the use of forced labour by a sub-contractor at its Bisha copper-zinc mine in Eritrea. Nevsun, which was acquired in late 2018 by Zijin Mining Group, denies the allegations.

... the decision has opened companies up new types of claims based on a novel legal theory that has never been tested in a final court decision...

...This doesn’t mean that this new way of looking at corporate liability will actually stand up in court – it remains to be tested when the Nevsun suit is heard...

In addition to that Wisner says due diligence on social, environmental and human rights risks is essential when completing acquisitions of companies in affected areas.

And for companies that do have operations in countries with higher human rights risks, it is important to take corporate social responsibility policies seriously.

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30 October 2015

UN Security Council's Monitoring Group on Somalia & Eritrea alleges Nevsun's Bisha mine uses forced labour

Author: United Nations

"Letter dated 22 September 2015 from the members of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751(1992) and 1907(2009) concerning Somalia & Eritrea"

"Throughout  its  mandate,  the  Monitoring  Group  has  received  testimony  from numerous sources, including from former senior Eritrean officials, that Senet, Segen and Mereb have used military conscripts to build and work on the mine. According to  multiple credible sources, the State-owned contractors and subcontractors hired by Nevsun to provide labour are engaged in an informal pay structure, whereby the contractors and subcontractors charge a certain amount to Nevsun for each military conscript or local worker employed at the mine while they pay far lower wages to the  military  conscripts  or  local  workers.  Although  the  exact  figures  of  labour agreements  between  Nevsun  and  the  contractors  remain  unknown,  currently  the workers of contractors and subcontractors are being paid monthly wages of between 200 and 500 nakfa. The rest of the funds paid by Nevsun to Segen and Mereb are being held by the aforementioned contractors and thus, by extension, by the military and the Government because the contractors are effectively State-owned companies."...

"The Group found that Nevsun had hired Segen and Mereb to provide labour in an arrangement where they paid workers far less than the amount that they were charging Nevsun for the labour. It is suspected that the difference is being withheld by Segen and Mereb, and thus, by extension, by the Eritrean military and Government."

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4 September 2015

Nevsun's defence of its operations - denies use of forced labour at Bisha mine

Author: Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

"Canada's Nevsun defends Eritrea mining after damning UN report"

Canadian mining company Nevsun Resources is defending its operations in Eritrea following a damning report by the United Nations that accused the miner of using forced labour in the North African country. Nevsun released an updated independent human rights report this week that found no evidence of forced labour or human rights violations at its 60-per-cent-owned Bisha mine in Eritrea, where thousands of people are fleeing on perilous treks to Europe...

Todd Romaine, vice-president of corporate social responsibility at Nevsun, said in an email that the company's operations help Eritrea in its ongoing development. He added that Nevsun is optimistic that well-paying jobs like those in the mining sector can help stem migration.

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