Mining Company on Trial for Human Rights Abuses Appears to Lobby at the Human Rights Council (HRC)

(Geneva: 26 June 2018) Nevsun Mining Resources Ltd, based in Canada is cur rently facing a lawsuit initiated by more than 80 Eritrean plaintiffs, who contend they were victims of forced labour, human rights abuses and crimes against humanity at the company’s Bisha Mine in Eritrea. Bisha Mine is owned 60-per-cent by Nevsun and 40-per-cent by Eritrean government.

Forced Labour and the appalling conditions in Bisha Mine have been documented by Human Rights Watch and the UN Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights in Eritrea. Yet the Todd Romain, the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility of this company and his PR are at present in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session where the current special rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea is due to deliver her final report, and a decision will be made regarding the renewal of the mandate. 

Nevsun also participated in side events organized by the Eritrean Mission at the HRC on 16 June 2016 and on 8 March 2018 , and visited many Missions in Geneva despite the fact that this court case was already ongoing.

Human Rights Concern-Eritrea (HRCE) believes most strongly that it is inappropriate for a representative of a commercial corporation whose name has been raised in connection with human rights abuses during HRC debates and oral statements  on the human rights in Eritrea, and which is currently the accused to court proceedings regarding human rights abuses,  should be party to human rights side events, neither should it’s top representative  give the appearance of lobbying country delegations about HRC initiatives that are directly concerned with its court case.

Eritrea has not implemented any of the UPR recommendations from the first and second cycles. The recommendations from the Commission of Inquiries and the Special Rapporteur have so far been ignored. No improvements in human rights in Eritrea have been identified in the last decade; 10,000 or more prisoners of conscience are still in detention and the violently enforced lifelong military service which prevails unreformed. Forced/slave labour have been used in all the government owned businesses including mining projects.

HRCE feels it important that country delegations and media are made fully aware of this issue, and advises that no further hearing should be given to any of Nevsun’s representatives pending a final court ruling on the human rights case.


Human Rights Concern Eritrea
+44 7958 005 637


Related articles about the lawsuit against Nevsun:

Canadian firm to face historic legal case over alleged labour abuses in Eritrea

Vancouver court clears way for slave labour lawsuit against Canadian mining company to go to trial

Canadian firm faces new forced labour claims over Eritrean mine

Nevsun lawsuit (re Bisha mine, Eritrea)