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ACIDH et al vs Compagnie Minière de Sud Katanga

Case overview

Date filed 4 April 2012
Current status Concluded
Issue Human rights violations at CMSK mine in the DRC
Summary of the case The residents of Kawama village on the outskirts of Lubumbashi in the DRC, close to the Luiswishi mine operated by the Compagnie minière du Sud Katanga (CMSK), were seeking compensation after their homes were unlawfully demolished by the CMSK in November 2009. CMSK is a joint venture between the Entreprise Générale Malta Forrest (EGMF) and the state-owned mining company, La Générale des carrières et des mines (Gecamines). EGMF, a subsidiary of George Forrest International (GFI), has a 60% shareholding in the Luiswishi mine. In September 2012 the Forrest Group announced that it had sold its shares in CMSK.

The complaint to the Belgian NCP alleged that the demolitions, which had been undertaken ostensibly to prevent artisanal miners from stealing CMSK minerals, negatively affected long-term residents. CMSK and the Congolese authorities failed to conduct a full inquiry into the incident and did not engage in negotiations with representatives of the affected community in order to reach a settlement. In April 2012, given the stalemate, the NGOs filed a complaint with the Belgian NCP. They asked the NCP to examine GFIs alleged responsibility for the human rights violations and to use its good offices to bring a satisfactory and fair resolution to the long-running dispute. Despite the fact that the company's employees and bulldozers were involved in the demolitions, GFI denied all responsibility and stated that this was a standard government operation.
Developments/Outcome Despite rejecting the case, the Belgian NCP undertook mediation. However, there were no agreed terms of reference and the Belgian NCP, far from being neutral, took unilateral decisions about the scope of the discussions and the nature of the remedial action that might be considered. The NCP in its final statement expressed its inability to make a judgment on the legal liability of the company for the demolitions and related human rights abuses when all that was expected and required under the Procedural Guidance was for it to determine whether the company had complied with the Guidelines.

The formal outcome whereby the company offered “as a goodwill gesture” to make some improvements to the water provision in Kawama and refurbished a mother and baby clinic did not address the key issue. But as the complainants (and the villagers they represented) noted this gesture not provide a remedy for those who had been left homeless as a result of the demolitions. Informal arrangements were later made to get a victim who had been shot by mine police operated on two years after the case closed. A bullet lodged near his spine was successfully removed. Those who lost their homes have still not been compensated.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Extractives / mining sector, Forced evictions and resettlement, Seeking/ accepting exemptions, Human rights

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Belgium
NCP address Rue du Progrès 50 1210 Brussels, Belgium
NCP website www.ocde-principesdirecteurs.fgov.be
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible George Forrest International
Company address Avenue Pasteur 9
1300 Wavre
Belgium
Company website http://www.forrestgroup.com/
Company in violation Compagnie Minière de Sud Katanga
Country of operations Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
12 February 2013 National Contact Point Belgium statement The Belgian NCP has issued its final statement, stressing its preoccupations about the situation in Kawama and Lukuni-Gare. It mentions that the DRCauthorities have failed to recover the harms. The NCP argues that Forrest International is no longer a stakeholder in the exploration activities of CMSK.Forrest International offered remediation through its Fondation Rachel Forrest, but this has been refused by the affected communities, as they have no trust in this fund. The NCP recommends Forrest International to execute the proposed remediation measures and regrets that the NCP process has not contributed to an improvement of the situation for the residents of Kawama and Lukuni-Gare. download pdf (18Kb)  
5 February 2013 Action Against Impunity for Human Rights press release 'NGOs expressed their deep disappointment that the attempt by the Belgian NCP to negotiate compensation for about 500 families, who were forcibly evicted from their homes three years ago, has ended in failure.' download pdf (114Kb)  
5 February 2013 George Forrest International press release George Forrest issues a press release in which it expresses regret for the violence that occurred in Kawama. However, it denies any involvement in this violence and regrets the allegations made by the NGOs. download pdf (939Kb)  
3 December 2012 Action Against Impunity for Human Rights letter NGOs send letter to Belgian NCP concerning the draft final statement. The NGOs are disappointed about the NCPs procedures and handling of the complaint and claim that the NCP is far from neutral. download pdf (33Kb)  
25 November 2012 Action Against Impunity for Human Rights meeting NGOs conduct meeting with the affected people in Kawama to discuss the draft final statement.They categorically reject the companys claim that it enjoyed good relations with the community and insist that they have never been consulted. If there had been good relations between the community and the company then, in their view, the demolitions would not have occurred. They have no knowledge of the Fondation Rachel Forrest or any activities undertaken by the foundation in Kawama. They reject the offer because it is insignificant compared to their losses and it does not address the suffering that each of the affected families has endured as a result of the demolitions. download pdf (239Kb)  
13 November 2012 National Contact Point Belgium meeting Belgian NCP facilitates meeting between the company and the NGOs. A draft statement was circulated that indicated that George Forrest International, at the NCPs request, would be willing through its charitable arm, the Fondation Rachel Forrest, to undertake some community work at Kawama  
23 October 2012 National Contact Point Belgium meeting NCP facilitates second mediation meeting between the parties  
26 September 2012 National Contact Point Belgium meeting NCP facilitates mediation meeting between the parties  
4 April 2012 Action Against Impunity for Human Rights file Complaint filed at Belgian NCP  

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