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AI: China mining companies contributing to Congo rights abuses

Chinese-owned mining companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are contributing to a culture of human rights abuses, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF; press release] Wednesday. AI claims that those companies should be held accountable for the longstanding, ongoing human rights abuses related to child labor, on-site injuries, financial exploitation and the illegal detainment of workers in handmade jail cells. Although AI does not claim that the Chinese companies are the original source of such treatment, the likes of which have been recorded for decades, it does maintain that the companies must be held accountable for the current situation. Furthermore, AI contends that the companies hold undue economic influence in the region, debasing the rule of law and human rights, and allowing mining interests to literally relocate entire towns without providing any compensation for lost homes or resources. According to the report, DRC is in violation of several and UN resolutions regarding the human rights of workers:

In addition to the violations of the rights to work and health, the security system being implemented at the site has exposed artisanal miners to serious abuses, including arbitrary and unlawful detention. ... None of the human rights violations or abuses ... [have] been addressed.
The report named more than a dozen agreements, treaties, resolutions and statutes that are violated by the current working conditions of the mine workers of the DRC. There has been no official response from the DRC regarding this report.

Last month AI published its annual report [JURIST report] entitled State of the World's Human Rights [materials], which details the human rights landscape across the world in 2012. The report focuses on the increasing danger faced by those displaced from their homes, which includes members of communities in the DRC where mining companies have bought the mining rights and been permitted to vacate the surface occupants. Chinese mining companies in Zambia [JURIST report] have also been accused of human rights violations.

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