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News Release – 180,000 People Worldwide Join Call For Nevsun Resources Investors to Divest Over Abuses at Eritrea Mine

    Freedom United – Mining Justice Alliance – MiningWatch Canada   (Vancouver, May 3, 2017) Community members joined Vancouver’s Mining Justice Alliance outside Nevsun Resources’ Annual General Meeting today to present over 180,000 signatures on petitions calling for



Freedom United – Mining Justice Alliance – MiningWatch Canada


(Vancouver, May 3, 2017) Community members joined Vancouver’s Mining Justice Alliance outside Nevsun Resources’ Annual General Meeting today to present over 180,000 signatures on petitions calling for the company’s shareholders to divest from operations in Eritrea, a country where forced labour is widespread.

Nevsun, whose sole operating mine is the Bisha gold/copper in the north-eastern African nation, benefits from the country’s system of indefinite conscription. It’s a form of forced labour (or modern slavery) according to the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others.

The Bisha mine is also a major source of income for the repressive regime that has ruled Eritrea since its independence, and the largest source of foreign exchange earnings. Nevsun has consistently denied that it has used conscript labour, including through its subcontractors, as well as asserting that its contributions to the government are used for development and infrastructure improvement. A UN commission found that the government is guilty of committing “systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations.” Eritrea is also the worst country in the world for freedom of speech, according to the World Press Freedom Index. At least 17 journalists are behind bars but none of them has ever been tried in court, nor even been charged with a crime.

Canada is a signatory to international conventions on human rights and forced labour, but has no legal restrictions on the international operations of Canadian companies other than rarely-used anti-bribery laws. “We are pressing the federal government to take responsibility and at least implement an Ombudsperson to investigate complaints,” says Jamie Kneen, Communications Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada. “At the same time, it’s fair to ask what kind of business ethics, and what kind of due diligence on the part of investors, allows companies to operate in countries like Eritrea.”

Forty-eight former workers are currently suing Nevsun in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, making it the first time a modern slavery case has been heard in a Canadian court. “The tens of thousands of petition signatories are shocked that a Canadian company can produce goods sold around the world in an environment synonymous with forced labour and human rights violations. The fact that this company is backed by investors that have we have stake in, such as through pension funds, makes our responsibility even more clear.” said Joanna Ewart-James, Advocacy Director at Freedom United.

This form of modern slavery is also the primary cause for another crisis. Eritrea is currently producing an incredible number of refugees. Of a population of fewer than 6 million people, 5,000 are leaving every month, with Eritreans make up a large part of the thousands of people desperately trying to reach Europe from the Middle East and North Africa, with many drowning in the Mediterranean or dying along the way.

“Nevsun Resources is helping fuel a refugee crisis by profiting from supporting a repressive regime,” says Daniel Tseghay, a local Eritrean organizer working with Mining Justice Alliance. Tseghay points out that Nevsun’s shareholders include the Canadian Public Pension (CPP) Investment Board. He says, “With the CPP investing in the company, a large number of Canadians are shareholders and therefore complicit in the enslavement of people from my country.”

The groups argue that the company’s investors must divest now.

See the petitions:

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Review overview
  • zeregabir May 8, 2017

    Weden ferihen si nseytiweden.

  • my country May 9, 2017

    We should have handled this through strong pressure and genuine lobbying ,I guess we just like to do the easy stuff ,like opposing higdef´s guayla.

    • k.tewolde May 11, 2017

      my country,the easy stuff is what you doing and saying- shouting at the batter from the bleachers,step up to the plate and attempt swinging at the curve ball.then you can tell us about ‘strong pressure and genuine lobbying’,or you may connect and hit a home run.Our brothers in Canada might be 0 and 2,but they are swinging and I assure you with their determination they will come from behind the count and hit a walk off home run while you still shouting from the seats.

      • k.tewolde May 11, 2017

        In other words,stop chastising the efforts of the justice seeker, leave that to ‘hagerawi dihnet’, words of encouragement would suffice.

      • Keren May 11, 2017

        K.Tewolde, you are the same old boring bandit from the old criminal barbaric and Islamic ELF mendef. You should be ashamed and hidden away for your criminal past of robbing our peasants villages and also burning our Eritrean languages to please and to obey the orders of your evil savage Arab slave masters and the Egyptians.

        • k.tewolde May 12, 2017

          Keren,I am not here to entertain,if you are bored,go watch the Hegdef soap opera ‘sidra’.

    • Keren May 11, 2017

      My Country, I absolutely agree with you about us just liking the bragging, showing off and opposing higdef’s only guayla and not fighting vigorously, aggressively and forcefully. We have too many empty talkatives and fake so called opposition fighters but more like opportunist fighters.

      • k.tewolde May 12, 2017

        ‘……fighting vigorously,aggressively,and forcefully…..’ now you talking,if you mean it nobody is wrestling you back,take it a notch,lead the way,don’t worry about the ‘opportunist fighters’ because opportunists don’t fight,instead they steal the spotlight at the expense of others effort and they bask on it,sound familiar? HGDEF and their kingpin.

  • Hagos May 9, 2017

    Daniel Tseghay, Joanna Ewart-James and Jamie, It is time for us all to stand and for this criminal dictator who has one thing in his mind “get rid of all the Eritreans” Well, we are not going anywhere this is our land and it belongs to us and we will fight and we will bring him to the International Criminal Court for the killing, raping and damage he has done to our Eritrean people.
    We are supporting your work all the way
    Wedi sembel

  • Z. Hagos May 10, 2017

    If the Eritrean right to living with dignity is the business of every Eritrean, this is it. Yes, this is it the people are getting together to say “enough is enough” and “game over” to the tyrant and those companies that are knowingly or unknowingly financing the abusive power against the innocent Eritreans. To those who have blinded their eyes and chose to support the dictator’s business, it is time for them to get harmonious in reality that the tyrant is destroying Eritrea and, therefore, they should join the justice seekers in calling on all those companies to stop providing money funding the dictator’s destruction of the nation. Let’s strive for more condemnation of those who do business with the tyrant and expose how their unclean businesses are having roles in enslaving our youth and destroying Eritrea..