Help stop profits from slavery in Eritrea

Solomon, 29: alleges that he was subjected to months of being followed and intimidated by government agents at the mines after a series of minor workplace disputes with his superiors and other workers. Solomon says he was abducted at gunpoint from Bisha mine, thrown into solitary confinement, tortured with electric shocks and beatings, and accused of being a spy.

Kidane, 37: After his father died and he was refused permission to attend a religious memorial ceremony, Kidane left the mine without permission and went into hiding for four months. He was punished with two months’ imprisonment. On another occasion, when he failed to recognize a government figure at the checkpoint, he was imprisoned for two months in solitary confinement.

Aman, 32: said he was conscripted by the army when he was 20 and assigned to work at Segen, an Eritrean government construction firm. He claimed he was sent to Bisha mine, hundreds of kilometers from his family, in 2009. “Life was very harsh,” he said. “There were sandstorms 24 hours [a day], the temperature was 38C [100F] or 40C. We never had full stomachs. My work was constant.”

 

These are just a snippet of the stories that are being told by Eritreans working at the Bisha mine*, majority-owned by Nevsun Resources Ltd – a Canadian Mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Nevsun operates the Bisha mine and subcontracts work there to a state-run company Segen Construction Company – known to make extensive use of conscript labor from the national service program.

Nevsun chose to set up mining operations near Asmara, Eritrea in 2008 in order to mine copper, zinc and gold – despite the widespread concern of human rights abuses perpetrated by the government against its own people. In fact, just recently a UN commission found that the government is guilty of committing “systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations.”1 Nevsun is one of the only international businesses operating in Eritrea, paying the government billions of dollars.2

There have been repeated allegations of the use of forced conscript labor, propped up by intimidation, abuse and torture since construction began at the mine. Nevsun has either denied the existence of forced labor, or denied responsibility for it – whilst continuing to profit and even expand Bisha’s operations without truly addressing it.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, has granted the right to take Nevsun to trial over potential abuses in Eritrea – a landmark ruling. Right now, as the case against Nevsun will go ahead, we can also take action and ensure that big business does not profit from slavery.

Stand with the Eritrean forced labor survivors suing Nevsun and call on the government of Eritrea to end its system of forced conscript labor.zincgoldcopper

  • Freedom United is continuing to fight against forced labor in Eritrea with a new campaign calling on all foreign actors investing or operating in the country to divest. Show your continued support and add your name.

  • February 28, 2020: The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Nevsun can be sued at home for its human rights abuses in Eritrea, allowing the lawsuit filed against them by three Eritrean forced labor survivors to advance. Read more about it here.

  • 19 February 2020: In a statement to the European Parliament Human Rights Watch raised concerns that the European Commission’s infrastructure development project could put it in the position of facilitating the abusive system of forced labor.

  • January 2019: Nevsun Resources Ltd has been acquired by China-based Zijin Mining Group.

  • January 2019: The Supreme Court of Canada has begun hearing the case against Nevsun Resources this month.

  • Nov 10, 2016: Campaign Launches

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

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Hadia
Hadia
2 years ago

As mentioned in my previous post, we ALL need to rise up and throw these disgusting politicians and slave traders into prison, release their ill gotten money sent to their offshore accounts and use it to create a just and fair world where no person is anyone’s Slave!!!

Julia Myers
Julia Myers
3 years ago

The Eritrean military is completely corrupt. Children are kidnaped from school and enslaved. Worse things happen to the girls. We’ve sponsored several Eritrean refugees, the fortunate ones who manage to escape. They bear the marks of torture.

Efrem
Efrem
1 year ago
Reply to  Julia Myers

do you have any proof that kida were kidnapped from school?why should the gov do that if they can enlist everybody from the age of 18?who are your sources ?what do you expect refugees to tell you ?that they came to search for better life ?will they get Asylum then ?How come eritrean refugees can go back to Eritrea to marry and get back to Europe untouched ??How do you know those you met were from Eritrea?,because they so ?,are you aware of the ethnic groups in the region ?can you name some ??

Paulette Harvey
Paulette Harvey
3 years ago

I am sorry but Eritrea reads like one large concentration camp, and without a major shift in the mindset of those who allegedly run the country, this will continue, and the young will continue to flee in the hands of traffickers..

don owers
don owers
1 year ago

If this legal action were extended to all companies that exploited workers we would have a much better world and a lot of CEO’s in jail.

john Bestevaar
john Bestevaar
1 year ago

We the people have to communicate more clearly that we support the hopes and dreams of ordinary people and not those of the rich and privileged elites

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