Posts Tagged ‘compensation’

Important legal victory for land rights defenders in UK Court

April 11, 2019

Vedanta building in India
Image copyright VEDANTA

On 10 April 2019, BBC and others reported on a landmark judgement in the UK that could have big implications for others cases in which human rights defenders seek compensation from multinationals. Nearly 2,000 Zambian villagers have won the right to sue mining giant Vedanta over alleged pollution, the UK Supreme Court has ruled. The landmark judgement means other communities in developing countries could seek similar redress in the UK.

Zambian villagers have been fighting for the right to seek compensation in British courts for several years. Vedanta had argued that the case should be heard in Zambia. The UK Supreme Court disagreed, saying that the case must proceed in the UK, due to “the problem of access to justice” in Zambia. The case relates to allegations by villagers living near the huge Nchanga Copper mine, owned by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta. Vedanta said: “The judgment of the UK Supreme Court is a procedural one and relates only to the jurisdiction of the English court to hear these claims. It is not a judgment on the merits of the claims.

Martyn Day, senior partner at law firm Leigh Day, which is representing the Zambian villagers, said: “I hope this judgment will send a strong message to other large multinationals that their CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility]. policies should not just be seen as a polish for their reputation but as important commitments that they must put into action.

[In 2015, Zambian villagers accused Vedanta of poisoning their water sources and destroying farmland. Leaked documents seen by the BBC appeared to show that KCM had been spilling sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals into the water sources. …In India’s Tamil Nadu state, a Vedanta-owned copper smelting plant was closed by authorities in May 2018.]

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/23/human-rights-council-recognises-vital-role-of-environmental-human-rights-defenders/

Tackling Human Rights Violations In Nigeria

December 19, 2014

On 19 December 2014, Naomi Sharang wrote a long piece in the Nigerian Observer (News agency of Nigeria – NAN). After a short general introduction, the author zooms in on the Nigerian situation and the role of human rights defenders, interviewing a NGO representative as well as someone from the Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Here follow the main excerpts: Read the rest of this entry »

Haiti HRD Mario Joseph uses his appearance in the MEA ceremony well

October 14, 2013

Mario Joseph Final Nominee MEA 2013

Mario Joseph, Haiti – Final Nominee MEA 2013

An unintended consequence of the MEA ceremony on 8 October was that Mario Joseph – one of the 3 Final Nominees for this award – used his speech to make clear how disturbed he was by the UN’s refusal to assume its responsibility for the cholera epidemic caused by UN troops in Haiti. Mrs Pillay – the UN High commissioner for human rights – in her speech replied to the challenge by repeating an earlier position that had mostly gone unnoticed: “I have used my voice both inside the United Nations and outside to call for the right — for an investigation by the United Nations, by the country concerned, and I still stand by the call that victims of — of those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation”. Associated Press reported this on 8 October but left out the context by just stating: ‘Pillay said at an awards ceremony for human rights activists in Geneva… streamed live on the Internet.’  So, now you know!

via UN human rights official urges compensation for Haiti cholera victims – Washington Post.

American Bar Association Writes to Nigerian Justice Minister about HRDs

September 21, 2013

In the Guardian of Nigeria of 21 September, Joseph Okoghenun writes that the American Bar Association [ABA] yesterday expressed their disappointments on the inability of the Nigerian Government to enforce rule of law and respect the rights of Nigerians, especially of those defending human rights in the country.  In letter specifically addressed to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, the Center for Human Rights of the ABA, said it was deeply  “concerned at recent events in Nigeria that threaten the rights and activities of human rights defenders and undermine the rule of law.” The letter cited several reports it received from Nigerian NGO Civil Liberties Organisation [CLO] about conduct that “reflect a pattern of ongoing human rights abuses by security forces in Nigeria, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and extortion”. The ABA strongly but respectfully urged the minister of justice  to look into this matter.

via American Lawyers Write Justice Minister, Seek Enforcement Of Human Rights.