Settlement agreed with Petra Diamonds Limited following claims of serious human rights abuses
A settlement has been agreed with Petra Diamonds Limited following claims of serious human rights abuses at its majority-owned Williamson diamond mine in Tanzania.
Posted on 12 May 2021
Leigh Day has agreed the settlement on behalf of 71 claimants who allege that they suffered serious human rights abuses by security personnel employed or contracted by the Williamson Diamond Mine and by police who work at and around the Williamson Diamond Mine. Petra Diamonds Limited has denied the involvement of employees of Williamson Diamonds Limited.
Ten of the claims are brought by the families of those who are alleged to have been killed at the Mine.
The claims were issued in the High Court in London against Petra Diamonds Limited, and its majority-owned Tanzanian subsidiary, Williamson Diamonds Limited in February and July 2020.
Following productive negotiation between the parties, the settlement includes wide-ranging measures which benefits the victims and the wider communities which surround the Mine.
The settlement agreement includes the following:
- Compensation. Petra has agreed to the payment of financial compensation to the 71 victims. The sums in question remain confidential to the victims. Financial training and support in accessing medical assistance will also be provided to the victims.
- Community Projects. A fund to establish a broad spectrum of restorative justice measures, aimed at providing economic development to communities close to the Williamson Diamond Mine over a three-year period. The projects will be selected following a community assessment process. The projects will potentially include an artisanal mining project at the Mine and an agricultural business initiative. The value of the fund will be in addition to the companies’ existing CSR budget.
- Medical Support Programme. Petra will develop a medical support programme to assist the wider community, with a focus on providing assistance to victims of human rights violations at the Mine. The medical support project will include physiotherapy and rehab services, psychological support, and outreach schemes. Satellite services will act in concert with the hospital to bring medical screening closer to local communities.
- Community access to the Mine. Measures will be put in place to allow local residents to access certain parts of the mine to collect firewood and/or graze animals.
- Further claims. Provision has been made for up to 25 further claims to be fully investigated and added to the cohort. A substantive framework for the valuation of the second cohort of claims has been agreed as part of the settlement process.
- Operational Grievance Mechanism. An independent Operational-level Grievance Mechanism (‘OGM’) has now been agreed and the aim is to develop and implement it within a year. The OGM will be compliant with UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It is intended to allow any future complaints of personal injury, sexual violence, false imprisonment and other human rights abuses at and around the Mine to be resolved fairly, locally, transparently and quickly. An Independent Monitor will observe and publicly report on the OGM on a sixth monthly basis. If the OGM does not function as agreed, Leigh Day retains the right to offer legal representation to those with valid grievances.
- Access to Hospital Records. In the spirit of transparency and co-operation, the companies will disclose to complainants and their legal advisors all documents held in relation to their cases, including medical records stored at Mwadui Hospital.
- Human Rights Defenders Policy. The Companies have also agreed to embed a non-harassment and victimisation policy to safeguard victims and human rights defenders against future harm or intimidation within 2 months.
Leigh Day understands that Petra will publicly state the steps it will take to ensure accountability of the perpetrators of these serious human rights abuses, including the nature of their ongoing cooperation with the relevant prosecuting authorities. Petra will also explain the measures it will take to improve the monitoring and accountability of its security forces in the future.
Leigh Day wishes to pay tribute to the victims who have brought this case, whose courage and determination in pursuing justice resulted in this outcome. We also wish to acknowledge the enormous role of our Tanzanian partners, including local human rights defenders and community leaders, for their extraordinary dedication, skill and resolve in supporting the Claimants and the wider communities of Shinyanga. We are also grateful for the hard work of experts in various disciplines, including various doctors and Tanzanian legal experts who provided an extremely high quality of advice and expertise.
The work of the NGOs RAID (Rights & Accountability in Development) and IPIS (The International Peace Information Service) was also vital in drawing attention to and raising the profile of the allegations of human rights violations at the Mine and in helping to secure remedy for the victims.
Daniel Leader, Partner at Leigh Day, said:
“This comprehensive and wide-ranging settlement provides remedy for these victims of human rights abuses and substantial support for the wider community. The independent operational grievance mechanism also provides for a mechanism to provide redress for any other victims. We will be monitoring the implementation of this grievance mechanism carefully and fully expect that Petra will honour all the commitments it has made as part of this settlement.”
Matthew Renshaw, lawyer for the Claimants at Leigh Day, said:
“Our clients are delighted with this settlement and we hope that it will benefit not only them but many other individuals living in villages around the Williamson Mine. I would like to pay particular tribute to the courage and commitment of our partners in Tanzania, and the exceptional skill of the Tanzanian legal experts and medical experts who advised us during this claim. We hope that this innovative settlement will make a real difference to the lives of many people in the years to come.”
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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.