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14 Oct 2016

Tamara Morgenthau, Earth Rights International

Lawsuit Against Nevsun Resources for Forced Labor and Torture can Proceed to Trial

...Last week, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that Eritrean refugees who allege they were subjected to forced labor and torture at Nevsun Resources’ Bisha Mine can have their day in court. This is a monumental decision, as it is only the second time a Canadian court is allowing a case against a Canadian mining corporation for overseas human rights abuses to proceed to trial (the other decision is Choc v. Hudbay). It is also the first case against a corporation proceeding on claims based on customary international law...This is the first decision in British Columbia finding that the province is an appropriate place for a case involving transnational corporate human rights abuses...This case is one of the first cases in Canada to directly plead, and proceed to trial, on violations of customary international law...Unfortunately, the judge did not allow the case to proceed as a representative action...This decision will likely be appealed, and many issues remain to be decided at trial. But, this decision marks a significant step forward in victims’ fight for access to justice against Canadian corporations involved in human rights abuses outside of Canada.