A group of Tanzanian villagers on Nov. 23 filed legal action with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Canadian mining company Barrick Gold over human rights violations at its North Mara Gold Mine. It marks the first time that the mining company has faced legal action in Canada for rights violations abroad. The plaintiffs, members of the indigenous Kurya community in northern Tanzania, allege that special “mine police” assigned by the security forces to protect the facility use extreme violence against local residents. The mine has been the site of repeated protests over environmental degradation and forced displacement of villagers. The legal action includes claims for five deaths, five incidents of torture and five injuries from shootings.
“The North Mara mine is notorious for violence against the Kurya people who lived on, farmed and mined the land on which Barrick’s mine has been built,” corporate watchdog Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID) said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Barrick Gold has claimed in previous statements about violence at the North Mara site that it “does not manage or control an independent police force.” Barrick has not publicly commented on the new legal action.
From Jurist, Nov. 24. Used with permission.
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