Mining Conflicts are a Great Challenge Facing Humala’s Government

My latest blog for Huffington Post UK:

Last month UK-based company Monterrico Metals agreed to an out-of-court settlement to 33 Peruvian farmers over claims of abuse during protests in Rio Blanco in northern Peru in 2005. As incoming President Ollanta Humala lines up his cabinet, there are still many questions hanging over the exploitation of Amazon territory and the treatment of indigenous communities.

As with many other Latin American countries, Peru is no stranger to protests over mineral exploitation or other energy-related projects. Yet as a country which has some of the most sought after mineral resources in the world, the recent case with Monterrico has exposed the ugly side of foreign investment in Peru. In August 2005, 33 farmers were taking part in a protest over human rights when they were detained and tortured at a copper mine owned by Monterrico in Rio Blanco. Five protesters were shot and two female protesters were sexually abused in the attack. Although the exact amount of compensation has not been disclosed, the settlement marks a significant milestone in accountability and corporate social responsibility for mining companies in the country. Richard Meeran, a partner at UK firm Leigh Day & Company that represented the farmers, said “This constitutes a salutary lesson for multinationals operating in developing countries.”

Published on 08-08-11. Read on here

The Struggle for Africa – The fight to establish law and justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Here is my latest article published in IBA Global Insight:

While the Democratic Republic of Congo is among the world’s most resource-rich countries, it has also been crippled by war and corruption. IBA Global Insight assesses the ongoing fight to establish law and justice in the heart of Africa.

In June last year, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) celebrated 50 years of independence from Belgium. Despite the festivities, the country had little to celebrate. The DRC has been characterised by brutality for over a decade and an estimated 5.4 million people have died from the effects of the country’s two recent wars. Although the 2006 election – the country’s first free elections for four decades – suggested progress, the country has seen the rape of more than 200,000 women and children over the past 12 years. The eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, which share a border with Rwanda, have been two of the areas most affected by violence, displacement and insecurity due to continuous clashes between rebel groups, pro-government militia and the armed forces.

Published on 03-08-11. Read on here

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