Barrick IGNORES Human Rights re: PNG Rapes

Barrick IGNORES Human Rights re: PNG Rapes

Postby Oscar » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:02 am

Barrick Ignores UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Recommendation Regarding Papua New Guinea Rapes

[ ... -papua-new

News Release 28 October 2013, 11.36am EDT

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Barrick GoldPapua New GuineaPorgera Mine - BarrickCorporate Social ResponsibilityGrievance MechanismsHuman Rights

News release: Barrick Gold is thumbing its nose at a recommendation by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [ ... pinion.pdf ] calling for an independent review of Barrick’s handling of victims of rape by security guards at Barrick’s Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Rather, Barrick’s remedial programme is reportedly processing rape victims this month and requiring legal waivers in exchange for benefits packages.

In August, MiningWatch Canada received a thirteen-page ‘opinion’ from the UN High Commissioner in response to letters MiningWatch had written to alert her to the fact that Barrick’s handling of rape victims at its mine in PNG is further undermining their rights. Barrick is making indigenous rape victims sign away their rights to sue the company in return for benefits packages. [ ... dy-barrick ] The compensation packages themselves are not proportional to the magnitude of the injuries the women have suffered.

Following a field visit in March, 2013, MiningWatch and other human rights experts concluded that Barrick’s remediation programme does not meet international human rights criteria and that the packages Barrick is offering the women are not ‘rights-compatible’. In particular, MiningWatch discovered that the rape victims themselves had not been consulted as to the remedy they might receive from Barrick. The women told MiningWatch that the items they had been offered, such as baby chicks to raise or second hand clothes to sell, did not meet their expectations or needs.

“Women told me that a culturally appropriate remedy would be mature pigs and cash with values considerably higher than those of the items being offered by Barrick,” says Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada. “Some women also sought remedies that would address the consequences of their rapes, such as loss of housing due to being ostracized.”

The UN High Commissioner is sufficiently concerned to have called for an independent review of Barrick’s remediation programme by a party that is considered credible by “key stakeholders.” MiningWatch Canada supports this call and has offered to participate in such a review. “Barrick should not process rape victims before submitting the programme to an independent review,” says Coumans.

For more information contact: Catherine Coumans, (613) 569-3439, catherine(at)

For background information see the OHCHR opinion
[ ... pinion.pdf ]

and MiningWatch Canada’s response letter of September 4, 2013
[ ... -09-04.pdf ]

= = = = =

Barrick Settlement on Rapes and Killings in Papua New Guinea Proof that Victims Need Independent Legal Counsel

[ ... -legal-cou ]

April 3, 2015

Cases of Other Local Victims of Violence Need Review

Ottawa – April 3, 2015. Today, eleven of at least 120 women who claim to have been raped and gang raped by security guards at Barrick Gold’s [ ] Porgera Joint Venture mine in Papua New Guinea, and three of many more men and their families who claim to have been the victims of violence and killing by security guards, finally got equitable settlements. These fortunate claimants were the clients of lawyers with US-based EarthRights International, [ ] who was prepared to file legal cases on their behalf.

“This case proves once again that victims of criminal acts at the hands of employees of companies such as Barrick Gold absolutely require truly independent legal counsel to ensure their legal and human rights are protected,” says Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada.

Once Barrick stopped years of denial of violence by mine security guards against local indigenous men and women at the remote mine, the company put in place its own “remedy program” at the mine site for the female rape victims. However, these women did not receive independent legal advice. And in return for remedy packages that many women themselves felt were not commensurate with the severe harm they had endured, women were required by Barrick to sign away their right to take civil action against Barrick and its subsidiaries.

“Our interviews with victims of rape by mine security in 2008, 2009 and 2013 provided evidence not only of the incredible extent of the problem, but also, once Barrick started offering ‘remedy packages,’ that women were insulted by what they were being offered,” says Coumans. “Public complaints over this to Barrick did improve the package somewhat, but we know that there were still women who accepted the package and signed away their legal rights only because they felt it was all they could get.”

Eleven women became clients of Earth Rights International, rejected the packages offered through the “remedy program,” and were prepared to take legal action. As a result, these women have now received the packages offered under the “remedy program,” as well as additional compensation to ensure that they would drop their legal claim.

“This case, and a similar one at Barrick’s North Mara subsidiary in Tanzania, raises serious concerns of equity for the victims,” says Coumans. “Porgeran women who suffered similar criminal offences, but did not have independent legal council willing to file a credible law suit on their behalf, were clearly at a disadvantage, and their cases should be reviewed.”

MiningWatch also questions why the remedy program for raped women was closed down as we are still receiving reports of violence by mine security. - 30 -

For more information contact: Catherine Coumans (613) 256-8331,

Previous MiningWatch Canada releases on Porgera:

In March 2011, MiningWatch Canada and local partners Akali Tange Association and Porgera Landowners Association filed an OECD Complaint against Barrick Gold that discusses the alleged rape cases, alleged killings, as well as other environmental and human rights concerns at the Porgera mine.
See [ ... orgera.pdf ]

In January 2013, MiningWatch Canada, EarthRights International and UK-based Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) went public for the first time with detailed concerns about Barrick’s remedy program for the raped women in Porgera.
See [ ... dy-barrick ]

MiningWatch Canada has also raised concerns about rapes and Barrick’s “remedy program” in a number of letters to the UN High Commissioner.
See [ Home Page feature ].

MiningWatch Canada and RAID presented a brief on this issue to the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in December 2014.
See [ ... -12-01.pdf ]

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Re: Barrick Settlement on Rapes and Killings in Papua New Gu

Postby Oscar » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:58 pm

Report to UN Committee: Canada Complicit in Mining Companies’ Pervasive Abuses Against Women

[ ... inst-women ]

News Release 4 October 2016, 1.38pm EDT

801.42 KB pdf
[ ... 0-2016.pdf ]

Source: EarthRights International – MiningWatch Canada – Human Rights Research and Education Centre Human Rights Clinic, University of Ottawa

Human rights advocates’ report shows that government has actively supported abusive companies, rather than holding them accountable

(Ottawa/Washington, D.C.) The Canadian government is not upholding its obligations to protect women against human rights abuses, according to a report submitted yesterday by EarthRights International (ERI), MiningWatch Canada and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre Human Rights Clinic at the University of Ottawa. The report, submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), charges that Canada has been supporting and financing mining companies involved in discrimination, rape, and violence against women in their operations abroad, when it should be holding those companies accountable for the abuse.

A majority of the world’s mining companies, operating at over 8000 sites in over 100 countries, are headquartered in Canada. Many of these mines are also sites of serious human rights violations, including direct violence against local women and environmental degradation that destroys women’s ability to support their families. One recent study found that Canada’s mining companies are involved in such abuses and conflict more than any other country’s.

At Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine, operated for years by Canadian miner Barrick Gold, local women have accused mine security personnel of a decades-long campaign of violations including systemic sexual violence and brutal gang rape.

“The allegations against Canadian corporations are not isolated incidents,” says Marco Simons, General Counsel at ERI. “There is a systemic pattern of reported abuses associated with Canadian extractive sector companies operating outside Canada.” While some women have received remedies, or are pursuing litigation in Canada, most women have not. Women face barriers in accessing justice in both their home countries and Canada.

Under CEDAW, Canada is obligated to take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination of any women by national corporations operating in other countries, and is required to do so by taking measures to prevent, prohibit and punish violations by those corporations. It also requires them to provide effective remedies to victims of such violations.

“Despite calls from civil society, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, individual Members of Parliament, and numerous U.N. treaty bodies to take proper legislative action to regulate its corporations, ensure accountability for involvement in harm and access to a remedy for victims of corporate related abuse,” said Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada, “Canada has failed to do so.”

Canada’s current approach is failing to stop and remedy abuse. Instead of regulating its corporations and preventing them from discriminating against women, Canada supports its mining companies. Export Development Canada provides financial loans to companies associated with alleged human rights violations; and Canadian development aid is used to expand the extractive industries’ operations abroad.

Canada is actively trying to take a leadership role at the UN. In announcing that Canada will compete for a seat on the Security Council, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “it’s time for Canada to step up once again.” But Canada has not shown leadership in protecting women from abuses by its mining companies.

“With this submission, our organizations hope that Canada and other home States implement mechanisms to assure that private extractive companies respect environmental standards and the human rights of women,” says Salvador Herencia-Carrasco, Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre.
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