May 18, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has commenced a monitoring exercise of selected mining companies in the north, south and eastern regions of the country on their compliance to Business and Human Rights.
In a bid to address Business and Human Rights issues in the country, the HRC-SL in partnership with the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, developed a guiding document known as the Guidelines for Monitoring Business and Human Rights in Sierra Leone.
The document provides a clear and consistent roadmap for monitoring the operations of business enterprises in Sierra Leone in line with its statutory mandate.
The Guidelines laid emphasis on the ‘Protection, Respect and Remedy Framework’ of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights standards, to which Sierra Leone is a party, as well as domestic policies and laws relevant to the operations of businesses in the country.
During a monitoring of Sierra Rutile Mining Company Limited/ILUKA operations, Commissioner Rashid Dumbuya, stated that when human rights improves, investments will flourish and that there would be peace and security, thereby paving way for businesses to blossom.
He warned the company that if they fail to respect human rights, it would threatened their success and lifespan. The Commissioner used the opportunity to present the Guidelines for Monitoring Business and Human Rights in Sierra Leone to the company.
Responding, Chief Executive Officer of SRL/ILUKA, Robert Hattingh said human right was critically included in the operations of his company.
He welcomed the monitoring of his company and noted that they would take steps to improve on areas that needed attention.
The team which comprises two Members of Parliament from the Parliamentary Oversight Committees on Mines and Mineral Resources and Human Rights respectively, officials from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, National Minerals Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency carried out a field visit for inspection of sites of human rights interest and had a debriefing meeting with the SRL/ILUKA for concerns and comments.