A group of seven Tanzanian human rights victims has launched a legal claim at the British High Court against a subsidiary of Canadian mining company Barrick Gold.
The claimants allege that they have been seriously abused by security forces employed at Barrick’s North Mara gold mine, in Tanzania.
The claimants are represented by British law firm Hugh James, with the claim issued against Barrick Tz, previously Acacia Mining, which Barrick fully acquired last year.
The claimants reside in local communities around the mine and include a 16-year-old youth who says he was shot in the back and then beaten by the police employed by the mine and a man who says he was seriously assaulted by the police on the mine site.
Some of these victims have been represented by a UK-based corporate watchdog called RAID and MiningWatch Canada, which have both documented human rights abuses at North Mara through research visits since 2014.
MiningWatch Canada and RAID claim to have documented 22 killings and 69 injuries at or near the mine between 2014 and 2016 alone, while a 2016 Tanzanian Parliamentary inquiry is said to have received reports of 65 killed and 270 injured by police.
“Barrick Gold should use this as a wake-up call to address the human rights situation at the mine, rein in the security forces and ensure that those who have suffered obtain remedy,” said RAID executive director Anneke van Woudenberg.
RAID in a statement on Tuesday said the North Mara mine had been plagued by reports of serious human rights abuses against local community members by security forces since 2006.
This is the second British lawsuit against Barrick’s subsidiaries for deaths and injuries at the mine.
The first lawsuit was settled by Acacia in 2015; however, the mine continues to employ the police despite a pattern of excessive use of force over many years, noted RAID.