(Kinshasa) Amnesty International has accused multinational companies of engaging in forced evictions, threats, acts of intimidation and deception against local residents at cobalt and copper mining sites in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in a report published on Tuesday.
In this report, “Fueling Change or Status Quo?”, Amnesty International and the Initiative for Good Governance and Human Rights (IBGDH), an organization based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, analyze the human rights impact of four projects in the Kolwezi mining area (mine Kolwezi Copper and Cobalt, Motoshi Mine, Metalcoal RTR Mine and Kamoa-Kakula Mine).
The two organizations believe that the race to expand these mining operations has led to the forced expulsion of people from their homes and fields.
These evictions “are carried out when companies seek to expand industrial mines […]“It is destroying lives and must stop immediately,” said Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
Instead of benefiting from the growth of the mining sector, people living in the Kolwezi region “are forced to abandon their homes and farmland to allow the expansion of large-scale industrial mining projects,” according to this report.
These evictions are often carried out by “mining operators who have little regard for the rights of the residents concerned and do not respect national laws aimed at reducing forced evictions associated with the mining sector.”
The report indicates that entire villages were destroyed, such as the village of Mukumbi.
“The whole village was burned, and we couldn’t save anything. No one had money anymore. We had nothing to survive on. We spent nights and nights in the bush,” Kanini Masca, a former resident, told Amnesty International. .
“This package has shattered my dreams […]“I have lost everything and I constantly live in fear of losing everything, even if I settle somewhere again,” explained Babi Mpanga, another former resident of the village.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s largest mining producer and supplies more than 70% of the world’s cobalt, an important mineral for batteries used in electronics and electric cars.
Amnesty International says it recognizes the importance of rechargeable batteries in the energy transition. However, as the NGO says, “decarbonisation of the global economy must not lead to new human rights violations.”
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