|By Marketwired .||
|August 5, 2014 03:14 PM EDT||
OTTAWA, ONTARIO and OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 08/05/14 -- A human rights assessment conducted between late June and mid-July 2014 at UK-listed African Barrick Gold's North Mara Gold Mine Ltd. in Tanzania by MiningWatch Canada and the British NGO, Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), confirms reports of ongoing excessive use of force by police guarding the mine, resulting in deaths and serious injuries of villagers from the surrounding area.
Desperately poor villagers reportedly commonly pay mine security and police to gain access to waste rock dumps and the pits hoping to collect rocks containing gold. Police are paid by the company to protect the mine - (in addition to the mine's own security guards) - despite their reputation for corruption and the use of excessive force, including shootings causing deaths and injuries at the mine over many years.
"We interviewed more than 30 victims and their family members," says Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada, "most of them had been shot by police or assaulted by the mine's own security guards within the last five years." During the visit, MiningWatch and RAID also had meetings with African Barrick Gold (ABG) staff at the mine and with its NGO partner, Search for Common Ground.
"We are deeply concerned not only about the clear patterns we discern in the excessive use of force at the mine," says Patricia Feeney of RAID, "but also about the intimidation, persecution, and the invasion of privacy suffered by victims and their families in the aftermath of violence by mine security."
RAID and MiningWatch are preparing a detailed report of their findings for the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and for the Board of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. ABG's parent company, Toronto-listed Barrick Gold Corporation, is a member and the UK and Canadian governments are participants of the initiative.
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