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Claim is filed over alleged human rights abuses at Tanzanian diamond mine

A claim has been filed in the high court on behalf of more than 30 Tanzanian nationals who allege human rights abuses at the Williamson diamond mine, owned by British company Petra Diamonds Limited, in Tanzania.

9 September 2020

The claimants are represented by Leigh Day’s International Department, who have written to Petra Diamonds to detail the allegations which involve security guards employed to protect the diamonds on the mine from local people.
 
The claimants allege that they suffered serious injuries as a result of the  mistreatment, including broken bones and serious head injuries, and some continue to be impacted by ongoing injuries.
 
The claim was reported in the mining trade press with an assurance from Petra Diamonds Limited (PDL) that the company takes the allegations seriously and has launched an investigation through a specialist third party.
 
Since Leigh Day wrote to PDL about these allegations, Leigh Day has heard that there have been attempts by the authorities in Tanzania to identify the people who have alleged the human rights abuses, along with the intimidation of human rights defenders who are thought to have acted in support of victims.
 
Leigh Day has asked for reassurances that PDL will take steps to prevent such action from continuing or happening again.
 
Leigh Day international team partner Daniel Leader said:
 
“Allegations of serious human rights abuses at PDL’s Williamson mine by their guards have been documented by numerous organisations and are alleged to have been ongoing for several years. 
 
“We have been instructed by 35 individuals to bring claims against the parent company, PDL, in the High Court in London.  Our clients include the family members of those who allege that their relatives were killed by security guards at PDL’s Williamson mine as well as victims who allege that they were shot or seriously beaten on the mine.
 
“Many of our clients allege that they suffered serious injuries as a result of the alleged mistreatment, including broken bones and serious head injuries, and some continue to be impacted by ongoing injuries.  The human rights abuses are said to have been carried out primarily by private security contractors who work under the supervision of mine management. 
 
“We have written to PDL detailing the allegations made by our clients and the reasons why they believe PDL is responsible for the harm they have suffered.
 
“We welcome PDL’s statement that it is taking these allegations extremely seriously and that it intends to investigate them thoroughly.
 
“We have recently raised concerns with PDL and its Tanzanian subsidiary, Williamson Diamonds Limited, about attempts to identify claimants and we expect them to take all reasonable steps to ensure that improper pressure is not placed on the alleged victims or those who are seeking to assist them.  We hope that we will be able to engage constructively with PDL on these issues as well as the claims put forward by our clients.”
 
The claim is expected to be served on the London-based parent company in the coming weeks.

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