In its latest letter to Barrick Gold President and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Sokalsky with a copy to Africa Barrick Gold Vice President responsible for Corporate Affairs, Mr Deo Mwanyika, MiningWatch said non-disclosure of financial compensation to women abused by the company’s guards is questionable.
“We appreciate that ABG has reconsidered its earlier position and has now provided some additional information.
But we note that most of our questions remain unanswered, including regarding the types of allegations of harm that have been received, the grievance process itself, and the nature of the compensation provided,” said the letter signed jointly by MiningWatch Canada’s Catherine Coumans and Patricia Feeney of Rights and Accountability in Development based in London, UK.
The watchdog activist group further noted that ABG has again set unnecessary limits around the provision of relevant information and has apparently misunderstood the transparency criteria set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) 31(e).
“While ABG notes in its letter that the level of any financial compensation provided in a remedy package is benchmarked against civil damage awards from Tanzanian courts, related and relevant information is missing,” MiningWatch and RAID argued.
Responding to issues raised, ABG’s Mr Mnyika dismissed MiningWatch’s regular raising of issues already explained in the past and invited the activists for a London meeting at any time to resolve key issues.
“In our March letter, we responded to dozens of specific questions you posed in your February letter pointed to information that is openly already available about NMGML’s grievance mechanism, and provided further information including the grievance mechanism’s outcomes with respect to sexual assault allegations and other related grievances,” Mr Mnyika argued.
He said so far, 55 individuals including 24 men have already been compensated using the mechanism and have accepted remedy packages relating to abuses suffered at the hands of security guards and the police.
“Remedies for human rights grievances are tailored to each individual and may include, for example, construction materials, various types of rehabilitation, training, education, involvement in alternative livelihood projects or financial assistance (benchmarked by Tanzania’s Workers Compensation Act and civil damage awards from Tanzanian courts,” the ABG Vice President argued.