11 human rights organizations warn thousands of DR Congo mine workers at risk of contracting COVID-19

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. Click here to become one of our members and help us keep our quality news free and available for all.

Multinational copper and cobalt mining companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo should take immediate steps to protect the rights of thousands of Congolese workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of 11 international and Congolese human rights groups said on Thursday in a letter to 13 mining companies.

The group urged the companies to respect workers’ rights as they adopt policies aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 while continuing mining operations.

Workers and union representatives reported that in many cases workers were given no choice and were informed by managers to either stay and work – confined on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week – or lose their jobs. On at least six mining sites, workers have been confined for over two months.

“We remind you that you have the responsibility to respect worker rights and the human rights of your entire workforce, whether employed directly by you or through a subcontractor, as mandated by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises,” the organizations said. “The current situation should not be used as a pretext to infringe these rights and circumvent your responsibilities.”

Workers at some of the mines said they received inadequate food and water rations, and had overcrowded sleeping arrangements and unsanitary toilet and washing facilities, risking the spread of Covid-19. Some said they were required to work beyond the regulatory maximum eight-hour shift without any additional pay. Workers said they had received limited or no communication about the duration of the confinement or future plans in response to Covid-19.

The rights groups urged mining companies to halt any policy involving confinement. Companies that nonetheless continue such policies have a responsibility to ensure adequate conditions for workers confined on company grounds. Workers should be given a free and fair choice to continue commuting to work while living at home. Employment contracts for workers who chose to stay home should be maintained, the groups said.

The rights groups also reported receiving credible accounts from workers and union representatives that the majority of mining companies were failing to respect recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) on preventing the spread of Covid-19, including for social distancing, personal protective equipment, and handwashing, whether they had a policy of “lockdown” or not.

“We recognize that there are difficult decisions to be taken in these troubled times,” the groups said. “Nonetheless, the well-being of your workers should be paramount in any decisions taken.”

Some of the world largest mining companies operate copper and cobalt mines in Congo, including Glencore, Eurasian Resources Group, Ivanhoe Mines, China Molybdenum, and Huayou Cobalt Company. Congo is the world’s leading source of cobalt, supplying an estimated 70 percent of world production. Cobalt is critical for rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles and electronic equipment.

At least six mining companies are reported as being under complete or partial “lockdown.” They are Sino-Congolaises des Mines (SICOMINES), the Compagnie Minière de Musonoie (COMMUS), Somidez (the Deziwa mine), the Minière de Kalukundi (LAMIKAL), and the Minière de Kalumbwe Myunga (MKM).

Read full article

TODAY NEWS AFRICAhttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now


239 scientists from over 30 countries urge WHO to tell the world about airborne spread of coronavirus

At least 239 scientists from over 30 countries are urging the World Health Organization to address the airborne transmission of COVID-19, a...

SEE IT: Certified true copy of the conviction of Nigeria’s House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila in the United States for $25,000 theft

The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila was convicted in the state of Georgia in the United States...

WHO warns access to HIV medicines severely impacted by COVID-19 as AIDS response stalls

Seventy-three countries have warned that they are at risk of stock-outs of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines as a result of the COVID-19...

Nigeria’s anti-corruption czar Ibrahim Magu who was arrested for financial fraud on Monday expected to be arraigned in court and removed from office after night in police custody

Nigeria's anti-corruption czar Ibrahim Magu who was arrested for alleged financial fraud on Monday is expected to be arraigned in...

Coronavirus update: Zambia, Ivory Coast and Malawi

Coronavirus numbers keep changing in Africa where more than 6200 people have now died and more than 233000 have contracted the...
- Advertisement -


Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate for ruling party Amadou Gon Coulibaly dies after ministerial meeting

Ivory Coast's Prime Minister and presidential candidate for the ruling party Amadou Gon Coulibaly has died after falling ill at a...

South African President heartbroken as COVID-19 kills Her Majesty Queen Noloyiso Sandile of the AmaRharhabe Kingdom

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his profound sadness at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Noloyiso Sandile, Regent of the Royal...

Harvard University and MIT sue Trump admin over order to deport all foreign students, including tens of thousands of Africans, taking classes online amid COVID-19

Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Wednesday asked a federal court to temporarily block an order by the Trump...

Africa records over 500 000 COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 infections in Africa today surpassed 500 000, and there is concern as a growing number of countries are experiencing a sharp...

Residents describe mass executions as graves with over 180 bodies are found in Burkina Faso

Common graves containing at least 180 bodies have been found in a northern town in Burkina Faso in recent months, and available evidence...


Read full article

error: Alert: Content is protected !!