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

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28 November 2014

[audio] Interview of lawyer representing plaintiffs in lawsuit against Nevsun over alleged forced labour at Eritrean mine

Author: Dr Russom Mesfun, Asmarino Independent (Eritrea)

“Eritrea: Dr Russom Mesfun Exclusive Interview: James Yap, an attorney representing three Eritreans who are suing Nevsun”, 24 Nov 2014

[An interview with James Yap, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Nevsun Resources regarding the alleged use of forced labour at Nevsun’s Bisha mine in Eritrea. Nevsun, a Canadian mining company, hired Segen Construction, a company that is purportedly linked to Eritrean’s ruling party, to carry out construction work at the gold mine. Segen allegedly used forced labour at the site, including poor pay, long working hours and limited food supplies. The claim aims to provide redress to the victims, who are not able to pursue the Eritrean government because of the state immunity doctrine. Yap added: “There’s certainly some hope…that this is going to…effect some kind of change, whether it involves Nevsun correcting its practices or maybe the regime…correcting its practices and saying we’re not going to use forced labour.” Nevsun has not responded to enquiries about the case, but has issued a statement denying the claims.]

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25 November 2014

New case profile on Canadian lawsuit against Nevsun re alleged complicity in forced labour in Eritrea

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre case profile of lawsuit filed in Canada against Nevsun Resources.  The plaintiffs claim that the company was complicit in the use of forced labour by Nevsun’s local sub-contractor at the Bisha mine in Eritrea.  Nevsun, headquartered in Vancouver, has denied the allegations.]

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Author: Radio-Canada

…[Nevsun Resources] soutient que les allégations de travail forcé à sa mine Bisha en Érythrée…ne sont pas fondées et qu'elle présentera une défense musclée à la poursuite au civil déposée cette semaine en Cour suprême de la Colombie-Britannique…La poursuite allègue que l'entreprise et ses sous-traitants de la mine Bisha ont fait appel à du travail forcé et a commis d'autres crimes contre l'humanité. Les trois anciens employés…allèguent dans une déclaration à la cour qu'ils ont travaillé sous la menace de « punitions corporelles, de torture et d'emprisonnement »…Des audits effectués par l'entreprise et des organismes indépendants indiquent que la mine a toujours respecté les normes internationales pour la santé, la sécurité et les conditions de travail, soutient l'administrateur général de Nevsun Resources…Un des avocats explique que les demandeurs…ont déposé leur poursuite au civil en Colombie-Britannique, car ils croient que c'est le seul endroit où ils ont une chance d'obtenir justice…

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21 November 2014

Nevsun Comments on B.C. Lawsuit

Author: Nevsun Resources

Nevsun Resources Ltd...advises that a lawsuit has been filed against it in the B.C. Supreme Court by three individuals who claim to have once worked with a local sub-contractor at the Bisha Mine in Eritrea. The lawsuit makes human rights allegations against the Company and its local sub-contractor.  The Company denies the allegations and will vigorously defend itself against this claim.  Cliff Davis, Nevsun’s CEO, said, “…the Bisha Mine has adhered at all times to international standards of governance, workplace conditions, and health and safety.  We are committed to ensuring that the Bisha Mine is managed in a safe and responsible manner that respects the interests of the local communities, workers, national governance, stakeholders, and the natural environment.”…

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Article
21 November 2014

Nevsun Denies Accusations of Human-Rights Abuses at Eritrea Mine

Author: Michael Gunn & Firat Kayakiran, Bloomberg

Nevsun Resources Ltd. (NSU), a takeover target which mines gold and copper in Eritrea, is being sued for alleged complicity in human-rights abuses at its operations in the African nation. The company denied the allegations. The suit filed yesterday by three plaintiffs in the Supreme Court of British Columbia claims the Vancouver-based company's Bisha mine was built using "forced" laborers who faced the threat of torture by the Eritrean government, according to the filing. "We are confident that the allegations are unfounded," Nevsun Chief Executive Officer Cliff Davis said in a statement...The lawsuit alleges that by entering a commercial relationship with the Eritrean government, Nevsun "aided, abetted, contributed to and became an accomplice to the use of forced labor, crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses at the Bisha mine."...[Also refers to Segen Construction]

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Author: Centre canadien pour la justice internationale (CCJI)

Trois hommes d'origine érythréenne ont intenté aujourd'hui devant un tribunal à Vancouver une poursuite au civil contre Nevsun Resources...dénonçant la main d'œuvre servile à laquelle la compagnie minière avait recours pour la construction de la mine de Bisha en Érythrée. Les hommes allèguent que l'entrepreneur local engagé par Nevsun, Segen Construction Company...les a forcés à effectuer des travaux en tant qu'ouvriers conscrits à l'emplacement de la mine de Bisha dans des conditions abusives et que Nevsun a expressément ou implicitement autorisé l'utilisation de la main d'œuvre servile. Ils allèguent que cet usage de main d'œuvre forcée est si répandu et inhumain qu'il constitue un crime contre l'humanité...La poursuite allègue que Nevsun savait ou aurait dû savoir...qu'en embauchant Segen pour le projet Bisha elle courrait un risque élevé que son projet minier ait recours à cette même main d'œuvre servile...La poursuite contre Nevsun représente le cinquième cas du genre devant les tribunaux canadiens...

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Article
20 November 2014

Eritreans file lawsuit against Canadian mining company for slave labour and crimes against humanity

Author: Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ)

Three Eritrean men filed a civil lawsuit...in a Vancouver court against Nevsun Resources…over the use of slave labour at Nevsun’s Bisha Mine in Eritrea. The men allege that Nevsun’s local contractor, Segen Construction Company,…owned by the Eritrean government’s ruling party, forced them to work on projects at the mine under abhorrent conditions and that Nevsun expressly or implicitly approved the use of slave labour, a practice alleged to be so widespread and inhumane that it constitutes crimes against humanity...The lawsuit alleges that Nevsun knew or should have known that Segen had been implicated in slave labour and that in hiring Segen for the Bisha project – Nevsun’s only operating mine – there was a high risk slave labour would be used...The suit against Nevsun represents the fifth active case of its kind in Canadian courts...It is one of the first human rights lawsuits in Canada to assert claims based directly on international law.

 

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Article
19 November 2014

Nevsun Resources faces lawsuit over ‘forced labour’ in Eritrea

Author: Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail (Canada)

Nevsun…is facing a lawsuit in Canada alleging the company was complicit in the use of forced labour by local contractors owned by the African country’s ruling party and military….Nevsun…has previously faced human-rights abuse allegations in a Human Rights Watch report…that criticized the company for failing to stop the use of forced labour at the [Bisha] mine…[In the] lawsuit…[the] three Eritrean refugees allege they were forced to work on the…mine against their will and subjected to long hours, intense heat and threats of torture, with pay of…$30 (U.S.) a month…Nevsun…[said]...last year that it regretted the use of any forced labour at its mine and that it no longer permitted the use of conscripted labour there...The company did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday…At least one worker at the mine, the claim says, died of “heat exhaustion and dehydration”…[Also refers to Segen Construction]

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