GRAN's Mining Justice campaign is undertaken in support of women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa experiencing human rights abuses in mining communities.
Widespread well-documented human rights abuses have been associated with the activities of many Canadian mining companies abroad. These companies must be held accountable for their actions in the communities in which they operate.
Not surprisingly, women are disproportionately affected by human rights abuses in mining communities, including:
- Gender-based violence
- Seizure of land and water without local consultation
- Serious illness or death resulting from toxic chemicals in the air, land and water
- Injuries or death of peaceful protesters
- Destruction of cultural values and the social fabric of communities
Canadian Ombudsperson is appointed:
The creation of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) was announced in January 2018, along with a Multi Stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct. According to the government of Canada's announcement, CORE would be an independent body, mandated to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity abroad. To be effective the Ombudsperson must:
- be independent of government and free from political or corporate interference
- be able to compel witnesses and documents
- be able to recommend and monitor sanctions
- report the findings publicly
In April 2019, Sheri Meyerhoffer was appointed as the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), but her mandate fell far short of the independent watchdog the government had promised. She was appointed as a public servant reporting to the Minister of Trade Diversification with powers to review complaints, but lacking the powers to compel witnesses and documents. As a consequence, citing an erosion of trust, civil society and labour representatives on the Multi Stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct resigned in July 2019. The Government announced it was seeking a legal opinion on the investigatory powers of CORE, but no announcements have been made to date.
GRAN will continue its advocacy for a watchdog with real powers.