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Victory over Vedanta

In a historic ruling, the UK Supreme Court has allowed 1,826 Zambian villagers to continue to pursue their case (Lungowe and others v. Vedanta Resource Plc) against UK-based mining giant Vedanta in the UK courts. The villagers from Chingola, in Zambia’s copper belt, have been fighting for over a decade for compensation following serious pollution from a mine owned by Vedanta’s Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), which poisoned their land and waterways...

...The case has significant implications for other victims of business-related human rights abuses and for multinationals, because it expands the parameters of a company’s legal “duty of care.”...

In April, 25 UK NGOs and trade unions launched a call for a new law to make UK companies take action to prevent negative impacts on human rights and the environment from their international operations (including their subsidiaries) and supply chains.

This would provide clarity for business on their responsibilities. If harms did occur, the burden would be on companies to prove that they had implemented appropriate procedures, making it easier for people from communities like those in Chingola to hold them to account in court...

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