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Tanzania: Small-scale tanzanite miners not paying taxes to local authority, depriving locals of social services from mining revenue

4 Sep 2017 — "2,000 Tanzanite Mining Firms 'Evade Taxes'" As the government gears to establish a tanzanite processing zone, the move has been proved essential as most of the jewel is smuggled, resulting in revenue losses. Local leaders here have volunteered information that out of about 2,000 companies engaging in tanzanite mining, a mineral that is only available in Tanzania, do not pay taxes to the Simanjiro District Council as required by the law. Endiamtu Councillor, Mr Phillemon Oyogo and Tanesco Street Chairman, Mr Justin Sarakikya...said the investors are getting the precious jewel without being accountable in terms of taxes. Mr Oyogo...said if all respective dues were paid to the district council, Simanjiro would be much developed, providing social services and taking people out of poverty. Addressing reporters who toured the mining area, the councillor said there are more than 1,960 registered companies operating at Mirerani in Manyara Region, but only 10 out of them pay the required dues. Mr Oyogo said that the non-compliance has resulted in poor service delivery by Simanjiro District Council, questioning why such a situation is tolerated while in other areas, companies were shouldering their responsibilities by making local towns prosper. He said that he was armed with documents from the council of companies that pay the levies as passed by Simanjiro councillors. He added that it did not ring into the mind why only 10 companies pay taxes, calling upon district authorities to take swift action so that the government gets its fair share.

Tanzania: Local communities to be impacted by large scale projects should be consulted prior to implementation

28 Aug 2017 — "How infrastructure projects impact the host communities" The construction of oil and gas infrastructure, dams, pipelines [and] processing plants has shown that the process is not without negative impacts to host communities...The situation is worse in poorly planned projects, which are often characterised by underestimation of social impacts... [In regard to the Uganda-Tanzania oil pipelinem, Mr. Raymond Njogoro, a resident of one of the host communities] expressed his concerns that adequate knowledge was required to educate the majority of host communities...[who] lacked knowledge about the project.

Workshops equiping African lawyers on responsible business practices, incl. UN Guiding Principles

15 Aug 2017 — "Supporting African advisers on responsible business: A&O and A4ID partner with the East Africa Law Society to deliver workshops for African lawyers on business and human rights" Alongside rapid economic growth and thriving investment in East Africa, there is increasing demand for responsible business practices and corporate accountability when things go wrong. To help legal advisers navigate human rights risks and opportunities for business, Allen & Overy (A&O), and an award-winning development law charity, Advocates for International Development (A4ID), have teamed up with the East Africa Law Society (EALS) to provide free workshops on business and human rights for lawyers in Uganda and Tanzania. The peer-to-peer workshops...will continue dialogue with East African lawyers about the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a globally agreed standard on managing human rights impacts linked to business activity...The workshops will draw on practical examples, including from the extractive and manufacturing industries, which are particularly relevant for African lawyers advising business... Together with A4ID, the workshops combine the expertise of A&O’s Africa Group and Human Rights Working Group, drawing on over 250 lawyers throughout the firm’s network of 44 offices.  Over the past 25 years, the A&O Africa Group, together with selected local counsel, has advised clients on numerous large scale international transactions across the continent, providing an integrated service for clients doing business in Africa. Further workshops are planned for lawyers in Burundi, Kenya and Zanzibar later in the year.  

Uganda & Tanzania: Civil society groups call for fair compensation of families to be displaced to pave way for oil pipeline construction

10 Aug 2017 — "Civil society calls for fair compensation of oil pipeline victims" Civil society organizations have called upon the governments of Tanzania and Uganda to develop Resettlement Action Plans in a participatory and transparent manner...[following the] envisaged construction of the Hoima-Tanga crude oil pipeline...The chairman of Northern Coalition on Oil and Gas, Mr. Josiah Severre...insisted the compensation must be based on fair market value... Mr. Severre also urged the two governments and the companies which will be implementing the project to establish a mechanism to handle grievances from the community. "Grievances should be addressed timely. The affected communities should be involved fully. We want the process of addressing complaints to be clear, consistent and transparent", he said.

Les Commissions foncières d’Afrique veulent sécuriser les droits fonciers des communautés locales

2 Aug 2017 — "Les Commissions foncières d’Afrique s’engagent à sécuriser les droits fonciers communautaires", 25 juillet 2017 Pour la première fois se sont réunis à Accra au Ghana les commissaires africains en charge du foncier. Ils ont affirmé leur volonté de faire progresser les réformes politiques, juridiques et réglementaires dans leurs pays respectifs et à assurer leur mise en œuvre effective afin de reconnaître les droits fonciers communautaires et de sécuriser les terres communautaires. Les terres communautaires sont un enjeu important car elles représentent la majorité des terres du continent. Les systèmes fonciers coutumiers représentent en moyenne 70% de la masse des droits fonciers dans tous les pays. «Nous acceptons de poursuivre les efforts pour identifier, reconnaître et protéger les droits fonciers des communautés, y compris les groupes les plus vulnérables, qui sont les jeunes, les femmes, les nomades, les personnes handicapées et d'autres groupes ayant des liens solides avec leurs terres», indique une résolution des Commissaires aux droits fonciers...les commissaires soulignent que seule la reconnaissance des droits fonciers traditionnels par les commissions foncières nationales ne suffit pas et qu’il faut s’attacher à travailler à l'égalité des droits, à l'expropriation, aux moyens accessibles d'obtenir un crédit et des certificats fonciers juridiquement contraignants. En outre, une attention particulière sera portée sur les femmes, les jeunes et les personnes vulnérables, en établissant des quotas pour ces groupes. Autre point souligné, la nécessité de relocaliser les autorités de gestion des terres dans des zones plus proches des communautés et à renforcer leurs capacités...les commissaires ont convenu d'adopter et de renforcer des méthodes alternatives pour la résolution des conflits, dans des contextes où il est difficile pour les communautés d'accéder aux systèmes de justice de l'État, en particulier à la lumière de la distance entre les tribunaux et les zones rurales, les coûts des procédures, le manque de sensibilisation..«Il est donc essentiel de s'appuyer sur des méthodes de résolution de conflits qui sont proches, moins coûteuses pour les communautés, plus efficaces et adaptées aux coutumes locales pour la résolution des conflits. Les institutions locales pour la gestion des conflits devraient être renforcées et mieux soutenues et réglementées par l'État », ont-ils déclaré..  

Land grabbing & human rights: Report examines role of European corporate & financial entities

1 Aug 2017 — In May 2016 the report "Land Grabbing and Human Rights: The Involvement of European Corporate and Financial Entities in Land Grabbing outside the European Union" was published on behalf of the European Parliament. The report examines cases of land grabbing in Zambia, Uganda, Congo and Mozambique and describes a number of possibilities for action by the EU and its Member States to reduce global land grabbing. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre previously sought statements in relation to the following cases, which are mentioned in the report: - Neumann Kaffee Gruppe in Uganda - EcoEnergy in Tanzania - Socfin in Sierra Leone - Khon Kaen Sugar in Cambodia - Siemens and Voith in Honduras. ABP and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) regarding the African Agricultural Trade and Investment Fund (AATIF) commented in media reports [BMZ only in German].

Landgrabbing und Menschenrechte: Studie über die Rolle von EU-Akteuren im Ausland zeigt Handlungsbedarf; enthält Stellungnahmen der Unternehmen

24 Jul 2017 — Im Mai 2016 wurde im Auftrag des Europäischen Parlaments die Studie „Land Grabbing and Human Rights: The Involvement of European Corporate and Financial Entities in Land Grabbing outside the European Union“ veröffentlicht. Die Publikation dokumentiert u.a. Fälle von Landgrabbing in Sambia, Uganda, Kongo und Mosambik und beschreibt eine Vielzahl bislang ausgebliebener Handlungsmöglichkeiten der EU und ihrer Mitgliedstaaten, um das weltweite Landgrabbing zu reduzieren. Zu den folgenden Fällen, die im Bericht erwähnt werden, hat das Business & Human Rights Resource Centre bereits Stellungnahmen eingeholt: - Neumann Kaffee Gruppe in Uganda - EcoEnergy in Tanzania - Socfin in Sierra Leone - Khon Kaen Sugar in Cambodia - Siemens und Voith in Honduras. ABP und das Bundesentwicklungsministerium (BMZ) in Bezug auf den African Agricultural Trade and Investment Fund (AATIF) äußerten sich jeweils in den Medien zu Fällen [ABP nur auf Englisch].

RAID's rejoinder

31 Jul 2017 — "RAID response to Acacia Mining"  

Acacia Mining faces lawsuit in UK over concerns of inadequate compensation for deaths at its Tanzania mine

25 Jul 2017 — "Acacia Mining faces more legal claims over mine site deaths" Under-pressure mining group Acacia is facing a lawsuit in the UK from relatives of people who died at one of its mine sites. The FTSE 250 gold miner, which is currently in a dispute with the government of Tanzania over back taxes, could be hit with compensation claims from a group being represented by law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn. DPG is acting on 10 cases, most of which relate to incidents since 2013, and one as recently as 2016, at Acacia’s North Mara mine, one of three sites it operates in Tanzania. It is understood the law firm is concerned with allegations that Acacia’s in-house grievance process is not paying out sufficient compensation to relatives. North Mara has for years been plagued by trespassers attempting to mine gold illegally and has a history of people dying on site. A Tanzanian government report last year recorded allegations of 65 civilians being killed by police at North Mara since 2006, and 270 complaints of people being injured. Acacia has disputed these numbers but admitted in its annual report earlier this year that there were six intruder fatalities in 2016, two of which were related to “police involvement”... Brad Gordon, the chief executive, told The Daily Telegraph the situation had “improved dramatically” over the last four years thanks to better training and fences being put in place, adding that the company was “quite proud” of the work it had done to shore up community relations.

Tanzania: President threatens to close mines if international firms delay talks to resolve tax dispute

24 Jul 2017 — "Magufuli says will close all mines if firms delay talks to resolve tax dispute" Tanzanian President John Magufuli has said he will close all the mines if mining companies delay negotiations to resolve a dispute over billions of dollars in back taxes which the government say they owe. President Magufuli...said it would be better to give those mines to Tanzanians to extract, sell the minerals themselves and pay the taxes, rather than giving to "people who call themselves investors with the intention of stealing from Tanzanians.” “After we discovered that trillions of shillings were stolen, we called them for negotiations and they agreed, but if they will continue delaying, I will close all mines and give them to Tanzanians,” he said... President Magufuli has sent shock-waves through the mining community in Africa's fourth-largest gold producer since his election late in 2015 with actions he says are aimed at ensuring that mining companies pay a fair share of taxes. Tanzania has passed new laws to increase mining taxes, to force companies to re-negotiate their contracts and to allow the state to own up to 50 percent of shares in mining companies. [Refers to Acacia Mining]