Help stop profits from slavery in Eritrea -
Campaign Update:

June 2018: Eritrea Focus, our partner on this campaign, needs your help to print hard copies of their new and much-needed report on the extractives industry in Eritrea. Thank you to everyone who has chipped in so far! You can read their report here.

Help stop profits from slavery in Eritrea

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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.

Call on Nevsun’s biggest shareholders to withdraw their investment, and support the fight to end profiting from slavery in Eritrea. zincgoldcopper

  • June 2018: Eritrea Focus, our partner on this campaign, needs your help to print hard copies of their new and much-needed report on the extractives industry in Eritrea. Thank you to everyone who has chipped in so far! You can read their report here.

  • May 2018: We were outside the Chelsea Flower Show with our partner Eritrea Focus raising awareness with the public about the link between slavery, Eritrea and the Show’s sponsors, M&G Investments.

  • October 2017: Following BlackRock no longer being listed as a major shareholder in Nevsun Resources on NASDAQ, we wrote to thank them for divesting and to seek information on the reasoning behind this decision. Read the full letter here.

  • 19 May 2017: Freedom United, alongside partners Eritrea Focus, met with M&G Investments on 19 May, 2017 to discuss the campaign. We welcome their statement that they take the matter of forced labor seriously, but continue to encourage M&G to sell their holdings in Nevsun. Read M&G’s statement here.

  • 3 May 2017: On 3 May, Nevsun held their AGM in Vancouver. We joined our partners, including Mining Justice Alliance and Mining Watch Canada to take your signatures collected here, and by SumOfUs, to show both company executives and shareholders that operating in Eritrea is not acceptable. Read the media advisory here.

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26 Comments on "Help stop profits from slavery in Eritrea"

newest oldest most voted
Colin Foreman

This is slavery of the worst kind! Nevsun have the seeming ruination of many many lives to answer for. No human being should enslave another – the command goes right back to thew Bible itself! This must be exposed. And of course, if poverty, the cause of so much suffering, is part of the picture, then we all have responsibility to do something about that.

Helmut Harnischmacher

Horrendous, when i started working in the Construction Industry in great Australia it was also often 40 Degrees, were exploited of course not incarcerated, worked for Pittance no Language Skills not many other Skills! My Heart goes out this Workers, but I was only 17-18


no surprise….humans are imbexciles. mainly the older ones

Shan Pletcher

Nevsun Resources Ltd. where is you social conscience? How do you describe this atrocity, committed at YOUR Mine, in your sustainability report? Step up and fire Segen Construction Company. Pay fair value for labour for resource extraction and stop abusing the human rights of workers!!


Hi there, I’m from Eritrea were do you get from this facrated lie information, you disinform the world. Find some thing looks right some were but Eritrea is not like you accusing it, any thing you need to know find genuine information from inside Eritrea


69,178 actions of 75,000 goal

Dear BlackRock and M&G Investments,

The international community has long been calling on Nevsun Resources Ltd to address the alleged use of forced labor in its Bisha mine, and reconsider its operation in Eritrea. However, Nevsun has made it clear that it will continue to operate, as it either denies instances of forced labor have occurred or claims that it has no responsibility over this aspect of the operations.

In light of this, I believe that BlackRock and M&G Investments, have no viable alternative but to reconsider its position as a shareholder in Nevsun Resources Ltd, who operate the Bisha mine in Eritrea, and withdraw from all investment in Nevsun Resources Ltd.

It is evident that for Nevsun to ensure it is respecting human rights and that forced labor is not taking place in its operations in Eritrea, the company would need to ensure it is not supporting the government’s use of conscript labor from the national service program. However, this is near impossible whilst operating in Eritrea. It is for this reason that I am now addressing you, the major shareholders to withdraw investment.


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