Remarks to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights on Operational-Level Grievance Mechanisms

Members of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights visited Ottawa as part of their May 23-June 1 mission to Canada. This is part of what they heard.

The UN Guiding Principles advise that: “To make it possible for grievances to be addressed early and remediated directly, business enterprises should establish or participate in effective operational-level grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities who may be adversely impacted.” The Guiding Principles provide Effectiveness Criteria for these operational-level grievance mechanisms).

Research conducted over several years by MiningWatch Canada and others at Canadian mining company Barrick Gold’s Porgera Joint Venture mine in Papua New Guinea and North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania has revealed serious negative impacts resulting from victims’ participation in Operational-level Grievance Mechanisms at these mines, both on these indigenous victims’ human rights and on their ability to access equitable remedy. At both mines, operational-level grievance mechanisms were employed to address criminal acts and serious harm, such as beatings, killings, rapes, and gang rapes, caused by mine security.