British corporations’ human rights violations


This 2013 video says about itself:

Tanzania is actually a rich country – rich in natural resources. Industrial mining companies have been exploiting Tanzania’s gold deposits since the turn of the millennium. But, as in so many of Africa’s resource-rich countries, the profits end up in the hands of a very few.

Every day, in a gold mine in the country’s northwest, rich and poor meet when hundreds of local villagers illegally invade the premises. The Canadian mining corporation Barrick Gold tries to keep the trespassers out, but many people have already lost their lives.

By Liz May in Britain:

British firms must be held to account

Wednesday 10th September 2014

Human rights abuses and deaths caused by London-listed firms should be tried in our courts, says LIZ MAY

SEVEN in 10 MPs polled want British companies held to account in Britain for harm caused in developing countries, amid growing concern over human rights abuses, including loss of livelihoods, injuries and deaths.

In a poll, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of politicians surveyed favoured action, including over three in five (62 per cent) Conservatives. The proportion of the public behind the move is even larger, at 78 per cent, including the same ratio of Conservative voters.

The Dods poll was conducted online with 100 MPs between July 3 and 28. The Populus research was carried out via telephone interviews with 1,003 members of the public from August 8-10.

This new independent opinion research comes after 1,130 Bangladeshi deaths in the Rana Plaza disaster last year, many of whom were producing clothes for British stores. It also follows the deaths of at least 16 local people at a gold mine in Tanzania owned by a British-registered firm.

The MPs’ poll, from Dods, and the public survey, by Populus, have been published to launch a major campaign to put pressure on the next government to enable British companies to be held to account and bring justice for overseas victims.

Our fair-trade company, Traidcraft, launched the campaign just over a year after British ministers published their action plan on business and human rights in response to UN guiding principles on the issue.

Traidcraft sources products from around 30 countries worldwide as part of its mission to fight poverty through trade. It also campaigns to ensure people living in poverty can benefit from mainstream trading activities.

The government plan was launched by the then foreign secretary William Hague and Business Secretary Vince Cable last September. Though the British government was the first to publish a national action plan, Traidcraft is dismayed by the lack of action since publication, especially on access to justice.

In a hardhitting report, Traidcraft highlights the building collapse at Rana Plaza, where many low-paid young women claim that they were forced to continue work, despite concerns about cracks in the building.

Masuma, a Rana Plaza survivor, said: “There was so much debris, you could barely see. I closed my eyes and started to crawl my way towards the window.”

Traidcraft points to more garment workers’ deaths in Bangladesh and other countries, and is demanding that British companies be held to account if they knowingly source from dangerous or exploitative factories.

In addition, the report — Justice: We Mean Business — outlines how British-listed African Barrick Gold, Tanzania’s largest gold producer, has taken a “heavy-handed” approach to security at the mine, which resulted in several police shootings of local people.

This video from Canada says about itself:

Toronto Tanzania Solidarity

9 June 2011

Approximately 70 people gathered outside the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs for a commemoration held for the seven individuals killed in Tanzania at African Barrick Gold’s North Mara Mine. Peter Munk, who recently donated $35million to the University, is the founder of Barrick Gold.

The Liz May article continues:

Emmanuel Gesabo, the son of 56-year-old Magige Ghati Gesabo, died after police providing security at the mine shot him. Magige said: “He was my eldest son, and my family depended on him so much. He was going to look after me when I got old and now he is gone.”

He is among a group of Tanzanians who are now suing the company in the English courts.

But Traidcraft points out that this option may not be open to similar cases in future.

In order to stop British companies operating with impunity around the world, there must be an option to hold them to account in Britain and for victims to pursue justice in Britain. These polls indicate clear majority support for this option among the MPs and the public surveyed.

In the run-up to the election, we call on all political parties to consider how to enable access to justice for people who have suffered at the hands of British firms. Only then would international trade be truly just.

Traidcraft urges people to join the campaign by requesting postcards to send to party leaders, by telephoning (0191) 491 0855, or by taking action online at www.traidcraft.co.uk/justicecampaign

Liz May is head of policy and advocacy at Traidcraft.

1 thought on “British corporations’ human rights violations

  1. Pingback: Russell Brand attacked in British media | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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