Statements and Questions from Everlyn Guape and Joycelyn Mandi at Barrick Gold’s 2017 Annual Meeting

Catherine Coumans Ph.D., Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific regional program coordinator.

Statement and Questions by Everlyn Guape, Porgera, Papua New Guinea

My name is Everlyn Gaupe. I am speaking on a proxy from Rachel Small.

Directors and shareholders, I live in the shadow of Barrick’s Porgera Joint Venture mine in Papua New Guinea.

This mine dumps all of its tailings and waste rock directly into the river valleys all around the pit.

Our villages are surrounded by mine waste. We have to cross this waste just to get from one village to another, or to go to our vegetable gardens or schools.

I am sure many of you here have children. How would you feel if your children had to walk through the stinking chemical waste of a mine?

The mine and the waste have destroyed our traditional livelihood. When we enter the waste to go from one place to another, or to pan for gold for our new livelihood, the mine’s security guards and police who work for the company attack us.

For decades now these guards and police have been raping and gang raping us local women, even young school girls, like I was when I was raped.

Can you imagine a young girl being brutally beaten and gang raped on the edge of a river of bright red chemical waste from the mine?

After years of denial, Barrick finally decided to give me and 118 other rape victims some remedy. But we were not asked what we needed to repair the many terrible impacts of the rapes in our lives.  Barrick’s consultants just told us what we would get, it was “take it or leave it” and they told us we were powerless against the company.

We had to sign legal waivers to get any remedy at all so we cannot even take legal action now.

Eleven other women who had independent lawyers got a settlement that was worth 4 times as much as we 119 got.

These are my two questions for you:

1) Will you meet with me, while we are here in Canada, and open up a new dialogue on our remedy with all 119 rape survivors in Porgera?  

We want an open dialogue about what we need to remedy the harm we have suffered and we want to be able to include human rights experts we trust to support us in this dialogue.

2) My second question is will Barrick release us from the legal waivers we 119 had to sign, so that if we do not receive fair remedy from Barrick we can at least seek legal remedy through the courts?

Thank You.

 

Statement and Questions by Joycelyn Mandi, Porgera, Papua New Guinea

My name is Joycelyn Mandi.  I am speaking on a proxy from Jacob Sternberg.

Directors and shareholders, like Evelyn, I too live half a world away in the shadow of Barrick’s Porgera Joint Venture mine in Papua New Guinea, surrounded by the waste from the mine.

And like Everlyn, I was raped by mine security when I was still a teenager. This happened in 2008, the same year that our fellow Porgerans came to this AGM in Toronto for the first time to tell all of you about the killings and the beatings and the rapes that we are suffering because of mine security and police guarding the mine.

Unlike Everlyn, I have never received any remedy for the harm that this rape has caused in my life. And I am not alone, there are many other victims of rape by mine security who have never received remedy and the sexual violence is ongoing.

Barrick knows this because MiningWatch Canada, and the Human Rights clinics at Columbia and Harvard Universities and your own consultant EnodoRights have told you about the many women who have never received remedy. Your consultant even interviewed me about my case.

My case was brought to your grievance office at the mine in 2015 together with the cases of 80 other women who have never received remedy.

We have a case number 3936, but until today we have had nothing but excuses from Barrick about why our cases have not been addressed and no one has spoken to us personally about our cases.

My questions to you today are:

1) What are you doing to stop the ongoing sexual violence by your security guards and the police you pay to guard the mine?

2) Will you commit to meeting with me, while we are here in Canada, to discuss my case and that of the other women who have never received compensation for the sexual violence we have suffered from your mine security and the police? Our remedy must be decided in consultation with us and with human rights experts we trust.

Thank You.