Recently, the Canadian mining industry was called out by members of United Nations for taking advantage of conscripted laborers in the small North African country of Eritrea.
Sheila Keetharuth, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea who collected the evidence, said in July: “Forced labour was used, especially in the construction phase, for the simple reason that all construction [operations] are done under the government.” (The Guardian)
Since the Eritrean government can force all citizens over the age of eighteen to serve in the government or work for the military, it is not an illogical assumption that some who worked on the project could have been conscripted laborers.
Canadian-owned Nevsun Resources, however, defends its operation at the only operating mine in Eritrea, stating that they do not employ forced laborers. They have released a report conducted by an independent consulting group in which they refute the UN’s claims. Furthermore, Todd Romaine, who works as the company’s vice president for social responsibility, says that their mine adds value to the ongoing development in Eritrea by stemming unemployment.
We’re sure we haven’t heard the last of the investigations into whether or not the UN’s claims are valid. Whatever the true situation, we look forward to seeing mining sectors developing in smaller countries like Eritrea–especially countries that lack industry and economic development for their people. We only hope that these developments don’t come at the cost of the citizens liberty and health.
Remember that we carry a full line of OTR tires for all of your mining needs. We routinely supply mines throughout the African continent and Canada. Please contact us to hear how you can take advantage of our current deals.
Image credit: “Un-eritrea”. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons