Promoting Human Rights and Accountability in Mining Communities

Promoting Human Rights

Promoting Human Rights and Accountability is another programme we do. There are eight Communities in Nimba County that we work with.

Accountability in Mining Communities, intend to increase the voices of women and youth in addressing human rights issues affecting their lives. This is also intended to promote accountability in the governance of natural resources extraction within mining communities.

We train the leadership of 5 women led community based organisations under a network called Nimba Resources Rights and Advocacy Network (NIRRAN)

We organize and conduct workshops designed to build the networks capacity to understand the Mining Resettlement Framework within the context of Human Rights

We host Community Interactive Forums. Town Hall Meetings with duty bearers and the mining company to adress human rights issues surrounding the mining operations and the rights of communities.

In 2007 the Liberian Government and Arcelor Mittal,  a multinational mining cooperation, entered into a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) for the mining of high grade iron ore in Nimba County. Under this MDA, the company is obligated to provide an annual payment of 1,5 million dollars to Nimba County through the Government of Liberia. This is an annual social contribution to help adress the needs of the county and it’s people through development projects and identifying social development priorities.  Unfortunately, despite all these payments which have been made,citizens have benefited nothing much. The rights of citizens to participate in decision making which should lead to changes in their lives have not been respected.  The annual development meetings which are held do not include leaders of communities affected by mining where the resources are extracted and sold. There are little or no opportunities for citizens, especially women, to voice out their concerns and opinions on the issues which affect their lives. The need for citizens to speak out and address the issues which affect their lives is a fundamental human right and is part of an employment need to be respected in full.  The Government has a responsibility to provide these rights under a conducive environment. The duty bearers have a responsibility to be open and accessible to citizens in order to help adress the needs of citizens in respect of those basic rights. At most times the duty bearers are not available to answer to the needs of local citizens.  However, if there are limited options and citizens face conditions of poverty in the midst of resources which should help improve their lives, the tendency of citizens to resort to violence and conflict is great.

Based on these developments, COPDA Sweden and COPDA Inc collaborate in the implementation of projects designed to give local citizens more voices to help them adress their human rights needs and engage their leaders. This involves awareness  raising, sensitisation and advocacy which will empower local leaders, including women leaders, to claim their rights and provide them their tools for constructive engagement with their duty bearers and other local authorities.  This will empower networks to engage their leaders on their rights and accountability issues affecting them. Help empower indigenous women to advocate for their rights within the communities. Protect the rights of marginalised women and girls who mainly constitute the youthful population to advocate for improved  livelihoods.

Some of the women from the different communities