Mining company abusing rights of rape victims
According to a letter sent by Mining Watch Canada to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier this month, mining company Barrick Gold was abusing the use of a complaints mechanism used by victims of rape.
According to the document the company was requesting that female victims of rape by security guards at Barrick’s Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) Mine in Papua New Guinea sign away their right pursue the company in return for remedy packages.
According to the website Business and Human Rights, women in the vicinity of Barrick’s gold mine have, for many years, endured brutal sexual assaults and have been raped and gang raped by the mine’s security guards. Additionally, women have alleged rape by police mobile units that are housed at the mine, fed and supported financially by Barrick.
After denying the rapes by its security guards for many years, Barrick has now agreed to provide remedy packages to women who allege rape by the mine’s security guards. However, in order to receive these remedy packages women must enter into an agreement in which “the claimant agrees that she will not pursue or participate in any legal action against PJV, PRFA [Porgera Remediation Framework Association Inc.] or Barrick...”
Based on information gathered by Mining Watch Canada during a site visit between March 5-10 2013, there are serious concerns with the remedy program Barrick has put in place. These concerns include: use by remedy program staff of a language not commonly understood or spoken by local women; lack of decision making authority by rape victims regarding the form of remedy they will receive; remedy is not tailored to the harm that has been suffered; remedy is not culturally appropriate; lack of understanding by women of the process in which they are engaged; women do not have access to independent (not paid for by Barrick) legal representation in the process; women are not always given copies of documents they have signed.
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