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Guinea: NGOs say hundreds of households to be displaced by AngloGold Ashanti were intimidated, threatened - company responds

In November 2015, Guinean military forces suppressed protests in the rural area of Kintinian in Siguiri Prefecture, on the pretext of evicting unauthorised foreign miners. AngloGold Ashanti is now beginning the involuntary resettlement of approximately 377 households in the area. Although it claims that the households have consented, villagers say they were intimidated into signing consent forms; many say they did not understand the contents of agreements they signed. In addition to concerns over intimidation and lack of informed consent, Guinean NGOs Même Droits pour Tous and CECIDE say that most affected villages were never consulted about the resettlement plan; the villagers are receiving drastically inadequate compensation for their lost land; and that the mechanism for resolution of resettlement disputes has not been disclosed to villagers and "is in the company's control".  

CECIDE and MDT are demanding the suspension of the resettlement until: (1) The resettlement plan has been fully disclosed to the communities in a language accessible to them. (2) The NGOs have completed an inquiry with the company's cooperation about the issues of community consultation, consent, and adequate compensation. (3) The affected communities and the company have agreed on a rights-based roadmap, with the facilitation of a jointly chosen mediator.

We invited AngloGold Ashanti to respond to these concerns and demands; its response is below.

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Company response
13 September 2016

Response to the joint NGO statement on Area 1

Author: Société AngloGold Ashanti de Guinée S.A.

SAG, as a subsidiary of AngloGold Ashanti Limited, subscribes to key international standards and principles [on human rights]...

[Statement responds to following questions & issues:] 

Q: The State exerted pressure by military violence and the company took advantage of this intimidation, contrary to national law and international standards?
We are not aware of any military violence related to the relocation process...

Q: Consent obtained through violence?
...SAG has not – and neither will it – engage in or condone any threatening behavior to secure access to land.

Q. Consent by error?
The SAG team alongside the State technical departments...undertook a 60-day consultation process beginning in February 2016 to fully explain the contents of the agreements to all Project Affected People...

Q: Failure to consult affected community on the RAP?
[The Resettlement Action Plan] was presented several times to the local authorities...[and] to a Village Committee established by the Prefectural authorities to act as a link between the company and the community.

Q: Failure to make public and fully implement the RAP?...

Q: Paltry compensation?...

Q: Abusive clauses in the resettlement agreements?

Download the full document here

Article
18 August 2016

Violent Pressure Used for Evictions in Guinea to Extend AngloGold Ashanti’s Operations

Author: CECIDE and Même Droits pour Tous (Guinea)

Guinean civil society calls on AngloGold Ashanti to suspend evictions: the State exerted pressure by military violence and the company took advantage of this intimidation, contrary to national law and international standards... Société AngloGold Ashanti de Guinée S.A. (SAG) is a subsidiary of the South African mining company AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. that is 15% owned by the Guinean state. This month, SAG plans to move 19 households to a new location, the first phase in the involuntary resettlement of approximately 377 households in...Kintinian in Siguiri Prefecture... The Center for International Commerce for Development (Centre de Commerce International pour le Développement, or CECIDE) and Equal Rights for All (Même Droits pour Tous, or MDT) contend that this action should not begin until certain conditions that are necessary to respect human rights and maintain social harmony in the area have been secured.

“The villagers didn’t freely consent to be relocated – they were intimidated,” explains Frédéric Foromo Loua, attorney and President of the NGO MDT. “In November 2015, the Guinean government sent a force of 210 soldiers...[which] attacked the residents of Kintinian...” ...According to one household head, “We were really afraid that they’d use force against us if we refused to give up our lands...” ...Many household heads say that they didn’t know the content of the agreements until after they signed.  According to Aboubacar Diallo, program coordinator with the NGO CECIDE, “Despite the requirement to consult affected communities, which is guaranteed under Guinean law and the voluntary standards that AngloGold claims to observe in Guinea, the villages of Kintinian and Sétiguia were excluded from consultations... Even worse, the people of Kintinian never saw the Resettlement and Compensation Action Plan (the Plan d’action pour les relocalisations et les compensations, or PARC) that was prepared for Area One..."

Full text of the NGO declaration: http://bit.ly/2bInPuq

Download the full document here