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22 Jul 2019

Rights & Accountability in Development (UK)

RAID's rejoinder to Acacia's press release

"RAID Response to Acacia Mining’s press release", 18 July 2019

On 26 June 2019, Acacia Mining Plc issued a press release in response to articles published by the Guardian and other Forbidden Stories journalists on the human rights situation at Acacia’s North Mara gold mine in Tanzania. Acacia asserts that these articles are ‘misleading’ which it partly attributes to publications by RAID. We take this opportunity to address Acacia’s inaccurate response...

Claim 1 – Acacia says the articles concern ‘historical’ allegations, ‘focus[ing] primarily on events in 2011’ or earlier. - Not true. The articles do not concern ‘historical’ incidents. They refer, for example, to 22 killings documented by RAID and MiningWatch Canada at or near the mine in security operations between 2014 and 2016. More recent incidents are also referenced, including the killing of a man on the mine site in 2017 and the shooting of a student in 2018. Incidents within the past five years can certainly not be defined as ‘historical...

Claim 2 – Acacia says it is ‘not accurate to portray the Mine as a place of ongoing violent confrontation and death’, as there are ‘few’ interactions between police/mine personnel and ‘intruders’ or new allegations of excessive force. Not true. Acacia’s claim is contradicted not just by the recent incidents mentioned above, but also by the company’s own statements. For example, on 13 June 2019, less than two weeks prior to Acacia’s press release, the General Manager of the North Mara Mine wrote to RAID referring to a ‘violent invasion’ at the mine site on 31 May 2019 and to the discharge of smoke canisters and ‘other such cartridges’ by security personnel...

Claim 3 – Acacia says the Mine has taken steps to support respect for human rights. Acacia has provided limited evidence to support its claim. Acacia says that North Mara Gold Mine Ltd, has taken ‘many steps’ in its ‘commitment to meet the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’. Yet neither the North Mara mine nor Acacia is a participant in the VPs.