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10 Nov 2020


Australia: OECD National Contact Point accepts human rights complaint against Rio Tinto over Bougainville

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Photo: Human Rights Law Centre

"Australia accepts human rights complaint against Rio Tinto over Bougainville", 4 November 2020.

Australia’s Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) issued a statement saying that the residents of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea have welcomed this week’s decision by the Australian government to accept a human rights complaint against mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) for investigation and conciliation.

The complaint, which was filed by the HRLC on behalf of 156 Bougainville residents, alleges environmental and human rights violations caused by Rio Tinto’s former Panguna mine on the island...

The legal documentation that supports the residents’ claims was filed with the Australian OECD National Contact Point (AusNCP) in the Department of Treasury and presents evidence of Rio Tinto’s failure to clean up tonnes of waste pollution left by the mine and mitigate the risks it poses to these communities...

The AusNCP has the power to investigate and mediate disputes between communities and companies, to issue findings on whether companies are in breach of their obligations under the OECD Guidelines and recommend actions to address any breaches that have occurred. 

Following the filing of the complaint, Rio Tinto released a public statement committing to entering into discussions with the communities affected along with other relevant stakeholders such as the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Rio also said that, despite not having had staff at the mine since 1990, it was aware of the “deterioration of mining infrastructure at the site and surrounding areas, and claims of resulting adverse environmental and social, including human rights, impacts.”...