A group of Tanzanian villagers Wednesday filed legal action with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the mining company Barrick Gold for a number of human rights violations at its North Mara Gold Mine. It is the first time that the mining company has faced legal action in Canada for human rights violations abroad.
The plaintiffs, members of the Indigenous Kurya community in northern Tanzania, allege that security forces at the North Mara Gold Mine use extreme violence to guard the mine. The action with the Ontario Superior Court includes claims for five deaths, five incidents of torture and five injuries from shootings. Plaintiffs ask the court to decide whether Barrick Gold can be held responsible under Canadian law for these harms.
“The North Mara mine is notorious for violence against the Kurya people who lived on, farmed and mined the land on which Barrick’s mine has been built,” corporate watchdog RAID said in its statement publicizing the lawsuit. Barrick Gold has claimed in previous statements about violence at the North Mara Gold Mine that it “does not manage or control an independent police force.” Barrick Gold has not publicly commented on the new legal action.