ENRC (now Eurasian Resources Group) failed to respect human rights, says UK government watchdog

The UK gov­ern­ment has sent a clear mes­sage to investors in high risk envi­ron­ments, like the Congo, that they can­not evade their human rights responsibilities. 

In a blow to efforts to rebuild its rep­u­ta­tion after an igno­min­ious exit from the London Stock Exchange, the Eurasian Resources Group (ERG, for­mer­ly ENRC) has been pub­licly crit­i­cised by the UK Government for fail­ing to address human rights impacts at mine sites under the con­trol of its sub­sidiaries in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ENRC had tried – but ulti­mate­ly failed – to get the adverse find­ings over­turned. Human rights organ­i­sa­tions, Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) and its Congolese partner,Action con­tre l’impunité pour les droits humains (ACIDH) had filed a com­plaint against ENRC almost three years ago. The com­plaint was exam­ined by offi­cials at the UK’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, who concluded:

  • ENRC has not engaged effec­tive­ly with two stake­hold­er com­mu­ni­ties on the con­ces­sions, and has not tak­en ade­quate steps to address impacts on the communities’.
  • ENRC has not met the oblig­a­tion to address human rights impacts with which it is involved’.
  • One of the impacts that is not ade­quate­ly addressed is a threat to the secu­ri­ty of com­mu­ni­ty access to safe drink­ing water. The right to safe water is a human right’.

 According to the find­ings, ENRC — though not direct­ly respon­si­ble — had been aware of the con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of water sources at two mine sites in south­ern DRC con­trolled by its sub­sidiaries, Comide and Africo Resources Limited (a Canadian com­pa­ny). Several thou­sand peo­ple liv­ing in the remote vil­lages of Lenge and Kisankala, which lie on neigh­bour­ing mine sites, were effec­tive­ly denied access to clean water.   ENRC was also aware from its due dili­gence report that ‘the pop­u­la­tion in the vicin­i­ty of the Comide and Africo licences is large­ly pover­ty stricken’.

Original source of arti­cle: https: https://www.business-humanrights.org/

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