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Porgera Joint Venture complaints mechanism for rape victims - MiningWatch concerns

In March 2013, MiningWatch Canada wrote to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights "to alert you to the fact that...Barrick Gold is abusing the use of a non-judicial grievance mechanism to request that female victims of rape by security guards at Barrick’s Porgera Joint Venture Mine (PJV) in Papua New Guinea sign away their right to legal recourse in return for remedy packages...[S]erious concerns with the remedy program...include: use by...staff of a language not commonly understood or spoken by local women;...remedy is not tailored to the harm...; remedy is not culturally appropriate; lack of understanding by women of the process...".

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Barrick to respond.  As its response, Barrick provided the nine-page letter it sent to the UN High Commissioner dated 22 March in response to MiningWatch's letter, denying that the mechanism requires the rape victims to sign away their rights and providing details about the mechanism.

MiningWatch responded to Barrick's letter with an eight-page letter to the High Commissioner, dated 2 April 2013.  MiningWatch noted "Insofar as the information submitted by Barrick in its letter is now newly public this is a positive development", but also cited the grievance mechanism's continuing "lack of compliance with 'effectiveness criteria' for project-level grievance mechanisms, as set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights".

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre again invited Barrick to respond.  It sent the following materials in response:

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Article
11 April 2014

[PDF] Non-judicial Access to Remedy at the Porgera and North Mara Mines

Author: African Barrick Gold

…While the document repeats criticisms that MiningWatch Canada has made elsewhere, it largely ignores the detailed responses that we and the UN OHCHR have provided, and it misrepresents actions we have taken as part of our effort to continually...

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[PDF] Brief on Concerns Related to Project-Level Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms

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1 November 2013

Continued progress of claims under the Porgera Remediation Framework [Papua New Guinea]

Author: Barrick Gold

…Approximately three quarters of the claimants eligible to receive remedy packages have signed agreements accepting their individual remedy packages and resolving their claims…The remedy packages were developed through discussions between claimants...

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28 October 2013

Barrick Ignores UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Recommendation Regarding Papua New Guinea Rapes

Author: MiningWatch Canada

...Barrick’s remedial programme [in its Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea] is reportedly processing rape victims...and requiring legal waivers in exchange for benefits packages…MiningWatch and other human rights experts concluded that Barrick’s...

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1 October 2013

[DOC] Letter to UN OHCHR regarding the Porgera Joint Venture remedy framework.

Author: Jonathan G. Kaufman, EarthRights International

EarthRights International is legal counsel for a number of Porgeran women who are either current or potential participants in the remedy framework…[We] are concerned with some of the approaches and conclusions set forth in OHCHR's [Office of the High...

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Company response
24 September 2013

Response to letter from Mark Ekepa to UN OHCHR [Papua New Guinea]

Author: Barrick Gold

Barrick consulted with local women and experts…regarding the Framework…Because of strict confidentiality considerations, Barrick did not consult directly with victims during the initial development of the Framework…[B]oth the ATA [Akali Tange...

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Article
4 September 2013

[PDF] Re: Allegations regarding the Porgera Joint Venture remedy framework [Papua New Guinea]

Author: Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada

…MiningWatch believes a credible independent review is critical in this case and should be undertaken as soon as possible…A key concern…remains the...withholding of individual remedy unless the Porgera rape victims are willing to provide Barrick with...

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Article
29 August 2013

[PDF] Allegations regarding the Porgera Joint Venture remedy framework [Papua New Guinea]

Author: Porgera Landowners’ Association

…ATA [Akali Tange Association] and PLOA [Porgera Landowners’ Association] and Porgera Alliance were not consulted by Barrick when Barrick created the remedy framework…Barrick did not consult the women victims themselves…Women who have entered the...

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Article
1 August 2013

[PDF] Re: Allegations regarding the Porgera Joint Venture remedy framework [Papua New Guinea]

Author: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has been approached by the NGO Mining Watch Canada (MWC), the mining company Barrick and others…regarding the…framework of remediation initiatives developed by Barrick Gold Corporation…and the...

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