Die Menschenrechtsorganisation Network Movement for Justice and Development in Sierra Leone solidarisiert sich mit den streikenden Minenarbeitern in der diamantenreichen Region Koidu. Die medico Partnerorganisation berichtet, dass die Versprechungen der Diamantenindustrie, die Löhne zu erhöhen und für soziale Sicherung zu sorgen, nicht eingehalten worden seien.
Die Streikenden fordern außerdem das Ende der rassistischen Diskriminierung durch die Mitarbeiter der OCTEA Diamond Group, einem südafrikanisch-israelischen Minenunternehmen, bei dem einige ehemalige Beschäftigte der Söldnergruppe Executive Outcomes aktiv sind.
NMJD warnt seit Jahren davor, dass die soziale Spaltung im Land die Gefahr eines Wiederausbruchs des Konfliktes begünstigen könnte. Bis 2002 befand sich Sierra Leone im Bürgerkrieg, der mehr als 10 Jahre andauerte.
04.02.2013 Gemeinsame Presseerklärung von medico und NMJD
Nach den gewaltsam unterbundenen Protesten in den Diamantenminen von Sierra Leone haben die Sierra Leonische Menschenrechtsorganisation Network Movement for Justice and Development gemeinsam mit weiteren lokalen NGOs und medico international eine Presseerklärung verfasst, in der die Allianz von Diamantenindustrie und Regierung analysiert und die Folgen für die Bevölkerung dargestellt werden.
Stellungnahme von NMJD
Koidu under siege as aggrieved workers of OCTEA embark on strike action.
What started as a peaceful protest (sit down strike) by workers of OCTEA mining company(formerly Koidu Holdings) on Saturday December 15th turned violent on Monday evening when officers of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) belonging to the Operations’ Support Division (OSD) started firing live bullets to disperse crowds of protesters who were demonstrating because they are dissatisfied with their salary and employment conditions. The firing started after 4pm on Monday when the Minister of Mineral Resources, Honourable Minkailu Mansaray and other government officials who were in Koidu were leaving the premises of OCTEA mining company after a lengthy meeting with the company management and some authorities but did not get audience with the aggrieved workers though, it was learnt that, the minister, his entourage and some authorities had planned a meeting with the aggrieved workers at Fachima Hall in the morning hours but did not show up. As some of the aggrieved workers who were gathered outside the company premises shouted at the minister and entourage expressing dissatisfaction that they have not been spoken to prior to the meeting with OCTEA as planned and that they minister and entourage should not be riding in the company vehicles, OSD police personnel started to fire tear gas and live bullets immediately after.
A state of emergency was declared that same evening on one of the two community radio stations in the district by the Local Unit Commanders (LUCs) of the two police divisions in the Kono District. On Tuesday morning again, rapid firing started early in the morning and continued up to the time of writing this piece (12noon). Though it is alleged that the protesters have seized one or two weapons from the OSD personnel, the OSD personnel continued to shoot live bullets at crowds of people, protesters or not. As I moved around, I saw OSD personnel shooting live bullets at random.
Presently, three people have been shot (two men and one woman) though no death is reported. The lady sustained very serious wounds in both legs and has been hospitalized.
It is rumoured that the vice president and a team are flying to Koidu today in connection with the strike incident and present ugly situation. A lot of people are expressing dissatisfaction with the heavy handedness of the police. Business houses in the Tankoro area where OCTEA mining is and the heart of the city including the banks remain closed today. It could be recalled that sometime in April of this same year, workers of OCTEA mining staged a demonstration that they have worked for over one year, some of them up to two years, as casual workers and were receiving only Le 260,000 which is roughly $60 and they were not made permanent. They leaders of the demonstration then including those who took active part in the strike action were all laid off.
P/s As I finish this write up, two of my civil society colleagues have just shown up in the office that is more or less closed with me and the office assistant alone and showed me a video tape that they have just taken of a man they said was shot by the OSD police. Will keep you posted of further developments.