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Vedanta Resources and subsidiary to face justice in the UK over human rights harms in Zambia

Author: CORE Coalition & Internatinal Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Published on: 10 April 2019

Today, the ICJ and the CORE Coalition welcomed the decision of the United Kingdom Supreme Court to allow a complaint to proceed against Vedanta Resources Plc and its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), alleging serious harm from extraction activities in Zambia.

The damage to health and livelihood was allegedly caused to local communities living in the Chingola District by the discharge of toxic waste from the Nchanga Mine operated by KCM.

The companies challenged the jurisdiction of the UK courts to hear the complaint for negligence and breach of statutory duty, saying there was no case against them arguable in a UK court and, in relation to KCM, that Zambia was the proper forum where any case would have to be heard.

The judgment, confirming the decision of lower courts, dismissed the appeal by the companies, allowing the case to now proceed to trial on the merits. The ICJ and CORE Coalition acted as interveners in the case...

“The ruling makes clear that, from available evidence at this stage, it is arguable in trial that a parent company like Vendanta owes a duty of care in relation to people living in the vicinity of their subsidiaries and this decision will have important implications to similar cases concerning parent company duties around the world,” said Lopez [of the ICJ].

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