Amnesty International on Feb. 3 urged participants in an international mining conference in South Africa to address human rights violations. African Mining Indaba, a conference centered on promoting the industry on the continent, is set to run this week, but several civil organizations, including Amnesty, are holding their own conference for the eleventh time to bring attention to claims of rights violations in the mining industry in Africa. Amnesty director for East and Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said in statement: “From child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo to squalid living conditions for workers at South Africa’s Marikana mine, the mining industry is tainted with human rights abuses. Mining firms have often caused or contributed to human rights abuses in pursuit of profit while governments have been too weak in regulating them effectively.”
Mining Indaba is the world’s largest mining investment conference. This year’s theme is “Optimising Growth and Investment in the Digitised Mining Economy.”
Amnesty’s statement called attention to several particular cases, including an incident in which dozens of protesters were killed by the South African Police Service and have yet to see justice. Other violations involved fatalities from flash-flooding in Mozambique that was likely caused by mining operations, and incidents in which military units were deployed to clear lands for mining operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These mines in the DRC have also caused the deaths of dozens due to tunnel collapses.
Throughout Mining Indaba, Amnesty and its partner organizations will be holding an Alternative Mining Indaba, their counter-conference, to bring “to the fore stories of injustice and socio-economic rights violations in mining communities, including in the DRC, Mozambique and South Africa.”
From Jurist, Feb. 3. Used with permission.
Note: Following the 2012 massacre at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa, a group of survivors were actually put on trial for murder, on the specious basis that they had provoked the police repression. The military land clearances in the Democratic Republic of the Congo concerned the multinational Glencore. Survivors of child laborers killed or injured in DRC cobalt mines are currently suing US tech companies. Anti-mining protests were also recently seen in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains.