Upholding human rights to support the long-term development of local communities
| Date: 10/12/2019
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On Human Rights Day, we celebrate the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This milestone document asserts the unchallengeable rights to which every person is entitled, regardless of race, gender, religion, political views, or any other status.
Our commitment to upholding respect for human rights extends to all those potentially affected by our business activities, including vulnerable groups such as women, children, indigenous people, and victims of conflict. We are signatories of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We are also a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals and the Plenary of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
Our Board committee for Health, Safety, Environment, Community and Human Rights sets the leadership direction for our human rights programme and monitors the effectiveness of our policy framework. At a group level, we operate an integrated approach to human rights across six areas, including safety, people, business ethics, environment, communities, and health.
Our Work in Action
As part of our commitment to respect human rights wherever we operate, we have implemented a number of programmes to manage our salient risks and support the sustainable, long-term development of local communities:
- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a significant issue in the DRC, owing to poverty and limited employment opportunities. This form of mining is dangerous and can involve child labour, which we prohibit at our operations. We are collaborating with Government and local authorities to run summer camps for children, where they take part in recreational and educational activities and are warned about the risks associated with ASM. This year, over 16,000 children participated. We also work with local NGOs to provide alternative employment opportunities to deter participation in ASM and in 2018, we supported over 140 agricultural cooperatives with over 4,000 members.
Since 1964, armed conflict in Colombia has resulted in the death and displacement of thousands of people. We are working with the La Victoria and Estados communities, both of which were severely affected by conflict. In 2018, we signed a Trust Pact to help the communities overcome the consequences of historic violence. We have also launched investment programmes aimed to strengthen local businesses including coffee start-ups and we are providing training through our regional Employment and Entrepreneurship Centre.
- South Africa
To further support local communities, we have designed and established water treatment plants in South Africa at our Tweefontein, Goedgevonden and iMpunzi operations. This allows us to filter excess mine run-off and provide drinking water for communities who normally have limited access to this essential resource.
What’s in our Future?
Our approach to human rights has been designed to support the varied jurisdictions in which we operate. We will continue to engage with communities to understand our shared challenges and opportunities, to help us achieve our overarching goal of operating safely and sustainably.