Sierra Leone Govt. & African Minerals allegedly involved in forced relocation Tonkolili residents & abuses of workers' rights, Human Rights Watch report

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Company response
26 February 2014

Emailed Statement from African Minerals in response to Human Rights Watch Report

Author: African Minerals Limited

As the largest contributor to Sierra Leone’s GDP and the country’s largest employer, we are committed to aligning our operations and strategies towards the ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption as set out in the UN Global Compact. We have maintained an active dialogue with...Human Rights Watch...for over 15 months and have repeatedly reiterated our commitment to being a positive force for economic and social change in Sierra Leone. While we respect the aims of HRW we do not agree with a number of their claims which we will be addressing at their symposium in Freetown...Nevertheless, we welcome constructive engagement with HRW and any other development organisations. The local communities that live in the surrounding area to our operations are extremely important to us, which is why last year, we invested US$3.63million in 22 local community projects. We have invested in excess of US$2 billion in the country to date and are very proud that our investment in people, training and teaching means that over 80 per cent of our workforce is made up of Sierra Leone nationals. Furthermore, we are pleased that our direct and indirect investment has contributed to Sierra Leone becoming the third fastest growing economy by GDP.

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Article
23 February 2014

In the wake of skewed Human Rights Watch report…Sierra Leone President Koroma backs African Minerals

Author: Christiane Koroma, Newstime Africa

President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma has stated that the government is one hundred percent satisfied with the operations of the African Minerals...Sierra Leone’s largest private sector employer. The President made this statement...while commissioning a couple of community development projects undertaken...by AML. This policy statement from the President acknowledging the massive positive contribution of the AML in Sierra Leone came in the wake of the publication of a misleading and politically motivated Human Rights Watch report accusing the AML and Government of Sierra Leone of not working in the interest of the citizens of country...The President said the AML project is irreversible, adding that nobody would be allowed to distract and sabotage a project of this nature that is not only providing employment for thousands of Sierra Leoneans, but that is massively and directly contributing to the economic development of the country...The AML, he said, has also contributed immensely towards improving education in the country...

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Article
19 February 2014

Sierra Leone: Mining Boom Brings Rights Abuses

Author: Human Rights Watch

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited African Minerals to respond. African Minerals response provided]“Whose Development?: Human Rights Abuses in Sierra Leone’s Mining Boom,” documents how the government...and...African Minerals...forcibly relocated hundreds of families...in Tonkolili District. As a result, residents lost their ability to cultivate crops and engage in income generating activities that once sustained them...The Sierra Leonean government, while promoting the company’s operations as essential to Sierra Leone’s economic development, permitted corporate actions that violated the rights of Tonkolili’s residents...[and]...did not take action in response to apparent African Minerals...violations of Sierra Leone labor laws concerning employment, termination, and benefits for its workers...

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Article
1 February 2014

[PDF] Whose Development?: Human Rights Abuses in Sierra Leone’s Mining Boom

Author: Human Rights Watch

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited African Minerals to respond. African Minerals response provided]This report focuses on the human rights impact of the mining activity of African Minerals...in Sierra Leone. It examines...how the Sierra Leonean government...permitted company actions that violated the rights of...residents. The report also details the government’s failure to provide adequate oversight of...consultations with local communities, relocation process, response to complaints, and operations. The government failed to adequately...inform residents of plans that directly affected their livelihoods, and did not investigate alleged abuses by the police...[L]abor rights of workers employed by African Minerals were violated by the company’s alleged failure to abide by Sierra Leone’s labor law...[refers to Addax Bioenergy (part of Addax & Oryx Group), BCM, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, Dawnus, Hawk Group, Koidu Holdings (part of Beny Steinmetz Group), Octea Diamond Group, Socfin Agricultural Company, TS and Company]

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