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Nevsun At Odds With The United Nation’s SEMG and CoIE

On August 31, 2015, Nevsun Resources of Canada issued a statement expressing its pleasure in announcing “the release of an independent follow-up audit on the company’s human rights performance at the Bisha Mine. It added, “This study was based on stakeholder input following last year’s independent human rights impact assessment study.”

On November 24, 2014, Gedab News had described the earlier Nevsun solicited report as “an unaudited self-assessment of the company’s governance practice and uncorroborated stakeholders’ testimonies”.

Though Nevsun’s latest solicited report is entitled “an audited and independent report”,  it doesn’t  provide any critical information on what makes  it independent.

The statement indicated that “Nevsun and ENAMCO remain firmly committed to the ongoing due diligence and the evolution of various policies and programs at the Bisha Mine with respect to human rights.”  ENAMCO, the partner of Nevsun Resources is fully owned by the Eritrean Government which is accused by UN bodies and Human Rights organizations as a major violator of the rights of its citizens.

The report of the UN Commission of Inquiry report on Eritrea (CoIE) which was released last June indicated that it was not able to investigate human rights conditions in Eritrea because it was denied entry to Eritrea. When the CoIE approached Nevsun, the Canadian company had referred it to contact the Eritrean government, which refused to provide visas for the UN commissioners.

The same had happened with the UN Eritrean Somalia Monitoring Group (UNSEMG) which failed in getting answers for its inquiries. The UNSEMG is mandated by the UN Security Council to document that mining revenue earned by Eritrean is not diverted to finance Eritrea’s support for Al Shabab.

According to UNSMEG, NEVSUN, cited confidentiality agreement with the Eritrean Government [and] refused to cooperate in answering questions regarding its financial dealings with the Eritrean government and specifically ENAMCO. Furthermore, NEVSUN CEO suggested that further queries should be directed to the Eritrean Government.

The UNSEMG reported  that when  it met with Ambassador Tesfay, the Eritrean government representative, via videoconference on 28 July 2014 and paused the same question, he in turn declined to answer its questions and suggested that UNSMG should direct its queries to NEVSUN.

Nevsun Resources and Eritrean Government (through its mining concern ENAMCO) jointly own the Bisha Mining Share Company (BMSC). The sub-contractors of the Bisha project are Eritrean government owned entities that depend on the forced labor of Eritrean conscripted youth who are forcefully deployed to work with the government owned companies. The two main sub contractures are Seghen (construction) and Horn (transportation).

Government companies monopolize almost all projects in Eritrea due to the competitive advantage they have to use cheap or free labor. The CoIE report indicated that Nevsun is “required by the Eritrean Government to hire Segen and other Eritrean public companies” affiliated or close to the Eritrean government. Its report added, the companies were hired to “to carry out all of the unskilled labor and basic construction work.”

After 24 years of independence, there are no private enterprises in Eritrea that can compete against the ruling party owned monopolies in construction, transportation, commerce and industry.

The “independent follow-up audit” that Nevsun refers to is carried out by LKL International Consulting Inc, a Toronto, Canada, based firm whose website link turns a one-page website with only three short lines of information as follows: 5430 Saint-Laurent Blvd, Suite 405, Montreal, Quebec, H2T 1S1, Canada, Phone: 1.514.451.5051,Email:

LKL International had issued a report in 2014, and in 2015, Nevsun commissioned the same Lloyd Nesbitt of LKL, the one-person consulting firm, to audit and confirm his report of last year. This time, hiring one assistant, Lloyd Nesbitt explained in his report: “An initial HRIA Report was published in April 2014, and included a series of recommendations for strengthening ongoing human rights due diligence at the Bisha Mine. This initial HRIA Report is available on the Nevsun website and should be read in conjunction with the 2015 Audit.”

Lloyd Nesbitt’s claims that many NGO’s and so-called experts were consulted in preparing the report, no real stakeholder, Eritreans experts outside the government control, or the indigenous natives of the land that both the Eritrean government and Nevsun are exploiting have been consulted. The indigenous natives were uprooted and have been living in squalid conditions in Sudanese refugee camps for decades.

The “auditor” also failed to explain how he was able to investigate the case by interviewing senior government officers while the most senior official, Ahmed Haj Ali, the Minister Of Energy and Mining is in prison. He was imprisoned by the Isaias regime, without charges, or sentencing, or visitation rights, and is in jail since 2013.

In June 2015, the UN CoIE published a report stating there are potential crimes against humanity in Eritrea, including human rights violations related to the subcontractors at the Bisha Mine. The owners of the Bisha mine, both the Government of Eritrea and Nevsun, rejected the COI report.

Quoting a non-existent Eritrean constitution that the Eritrean president publicly announced its death, Lloyd Nesbitt wrote, “Article 16(3) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude nor shall any person be required to perform forced labor not authorized by law”, implying that the case of slave and forced labor against Eritrean youth is not true.

In a country where a meeting of more than three people is usually considered a crime, Lloyd Nesbitt alleges, “There has been no suggestion or allegation that BMSC has engaged in any anti-union behavior.” He further implies that “The right to freedom of association and collective bargaining are protected by the Eritrean Labour Proclamation and these rights can and have been exercised—as is evidenced by the collective agreements in place for a number of BMSC suppliers, contractors and subcontractors”

He further alleges, that “Discussions with internal and external stakeholders suggest that there are ongoing informal discussions about the formation of employee associations for the mining industry, including with respect to the Bisha Mine.  It is foreseeable that these informal discussions may eventually result in a formal request to BMSC—which will test its support for the rights related to freedom of association and collective bargaining”.

According to Nevsun, “This audit measures company performance on its human rights training, audits & inspections of the supply chain, refinements towards grievance mechanisms, community assistance and human resource processes.” However, that task was assigned to LKL International, the one man firm hired by Nevsun to do a PR job for the company by masquerading as human rights investigating group.

The barrage of statements by Nevsun and its army of writers is based on Lloyd Nesbitt’s 72 page, advertising quality report.  Lloyd LIPSETT’s, LLK International, appears to be an empty shell as it does not state where it is registered nor provide any accreditations.  It certainly  is not a human rights organization and thus is not qualified neither to investigate nor to audit human rights issues, let alone issue a report on the slave labor accusation that is leveled against Nevsun and its partners by international organization including Human Right Watch and Amnesty International, to name a few.

In the statement, Nevsun CEO is quoted as saying, “We will continue to be transparent with our ethical approach to responsible business and human rights practices in Eritrea.” Unfortunately, Human Rights is not divisible, and the Eritrean government which is notorious violator of human rights cannot respect human rights in the Bisha Mine.

Last year, three Eritreans filed a lawsuit against Nevsun in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, in relation to whether Nevsun relied upon forced labor.

A witness told CoIE “after being raped and tortured by military personnel, she was asked where she was working. When she showed her ‘Nevsun’ company identification card, they released her and apologized, saying it was a mistake.” Indeed, working in Nevsun might protect the rights of women after they were raped, those who cannot show a Nevsun employment proof, they can be raped indefinitely.

Related Links:

1. Report of UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea
2. 2014 Report of UN Somalia Eritrea Monitoring group
3. Mining for Truth At Nevsun’s Bisha Mines
4. Nevsun Settles Two Fraudulent Class Action Lawsuits For A Total Of US$ 12.8 Million
5. Yet Another Lawsuit Hits Canadian Mining Company Nevsun
6. Nevsun Resources: Slave Labor At Bisha Mine
7. Hear no Evil: Forced Labor and Corporate
8. Responsibility in Eritrea’s Mining Sector

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  • Michaelinlondon1234

    A saddistic piece of writing
    This mine will feed people and improve infrastructure.
    I hear you are a mouth piece for Ethiopia….Is this true?

  • T..T.

    Hi saay and all,

    Regarding the many forms of slavery, the UN’s Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    -Called on all countries to observe “December 2” as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

    -Elaborated that modern slavery included forced and bonded labor, child labor and slavery for ritual or religious purposes.

    -Clarified that the world was “wrestling with a new form of slavery — trafficking in human beings, in which many vulnerable people are virtually abandoned by legal and social systems into a sordid realm of exploitation and abuse.”

    -Announced that, “People who perpetrate, condone or facilitate slavery or slavery-like practices must be held accountable by national and, if necessary, international means.”

    ———–>> Accordingly, Nevsun of Canada can be held accountable by Canadian govt and the UN.


    • Michaelinlondon1234

      The USA practices slave labour.

  • Music Novice

    Greetings dawit,

    Are you willing to permanently relocate with your family to Eritrea and be ready to serve in the EPLF/Shaebia/PFDJ … whatever military for 20 years? No ifs or buts, can you give a Yes or No answer?

    • Amanuel

      Hi MN
      Defiantly dawit will reply yes, as he comes to this fourm not to share ideas or learn from others but to frustrate and annoy. His debating method is kind of “ትንፈር ኣይትንፈር ጤል እያ”

  • betri_weyn

    Dear nitric
    What’s gone on everyone from your boss administration officials and the warsay-officials all of them said
    #no choice# this word became famous in gov.eri for meantime…
    No choice… No choice… No choice…

  • haileTG

    Selamat Eyoba, indeed kudos to that.. neger gin an’d amet ke’ndegena ke’awrie gar demo yasasibal 🙂

    This video is very emotional (especially the first 8min) to all good heat Eritreans and good wishers. As always, coming with the truth face to face is a powerful experience. I hope the gathering momentum will finally unleash a full fledged tornado the would uproot hgdef for good soon.

    • Eyob Medhane


      Even though I am really not a fan of Biniam Kebede (the presenter) This video, you are right it has some heart wrenching effects…

      I do believe actually that these days seem to be the days that PFDJ is on its “last throes”. Hence, it’s latest screaming about war and pretend fear of being invaded. I really think that they have started to fear of their own people, who they are pushing out of the country and pushing around at home. The old guards are dying one by one and/or killed. The new “loyalists” may not be as loyal and reliable. The people now is warding off its romantic and nostalgic attachment that it had for them and they know all want them gone. They are isolated continentally and internationally….I think they are scared and I bet you some among them are getting themselves prepared an exiting strategy…

      • Abi

        “Dangerous when wounded.”

        • Eyob Medhane


          Honestly, Isayas has passed the time where he can be dangerous..he and his friends now are just looking for a way out now…

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    In a blame game, where the blame goes to the daughter-in-law only instead of her husband (their son), the Kabessas have a saying that goes, “Wedom Ky’blu Siti Wedom” (instead of blaming their son, they blame their daughter-in-law). It appears to make sense in the case of CoIE vs Isayas & the Canadian Nevsun.

    The UN has just to blame Nevsun. Why Isayas? The system that is tarnished by its reputation of mistreatment of its people, disappearance, rape, and all the worst on earth policies towards its people, cannot be expected to be free from any crime.

    Indeed, it is time to stop wasting time blaming the non-blame-able for any known good deeds. The regime that condemned the whole Eritrean people to servile and hard work is not of course free from any kind of blames that the UN is seeking to investigate.

    In every Eritrean family, the parents are either intimated or blackmailed into not disclosing or mentioning crimes committed on themselves and their infants, children, and youth. The parents as slaves have to comply with the slave master’s order and are forced to cover up crimes in a way that makes it impossible to find out about the truth without removal of the system.

    According to Nitricc, L.T and Dawit, the lion of Nacfa is always standing on his hind legs and is ever ready to attack and kill anyone who comes closer to investigate him.

    • saay7

      Hi TT:

      I am not sure I understand your point. Who is blameworthy and who is blameless in your metaphor above?

      Here are some points to ponder about Nevsun:

      1. Nevsun = Bisha Mining. No Bisha, no Nevsun. So the stakes are very high for the company. It’s fighting for its survival and if that means selecting the right human rights activist to say what will save its hide, it will.

      2. The company’s revenues (for period ended June 30) is 40% less than it was the year before. So the company is reeling.

      3. On November 30, three Eritreans filed a lawsuit against the company alleging it (or the PFDJ subcontractor it hired) violated international law and British Colombia law on labor standards. In its financial statements, Nevsun says it has no way of knowing whether it will win or lose and if loses what its liabilities will be. The suit (Araya lawsuit) is expected to go to court in January. It doesn’t bode well for the company as Canadian courts have allowed precedent by South Americans filing a similar suit.

      So, Eritreans are conducting “kulu-shenekhawi” front against the Isaias regime whose biggest mistake is thinking it has a monopoly on Eritrean stamina (niH.)


      • T..T.

        Hi saay,

        The focus of my point is clear. No doubt, the UN may insist on what it deems right. But to the Eritrean victims, whether Nevsun acted through Isayas’s agents or not, it remains fully responsible for the damaged caused to the victims.

        I may reiterate, like any justice seeker, the UN’s fight against Isayas is multifaceted, clear and endless until he is removed with tweezers. So, there should be no room for mix ups. Otherwise, it will be time consuming and will make the UN less capable of defining the crime/damage caused as well as identifying the wrongdoers and their contribution towards the injuries suffered by the victims.

  • haileTG

    Dear Awatista,

    Here the other reality the PFDJist are hiding from you…taken live from Ethiopian refugee camps

    • Mahmud Saleh

      quick observations:
      First I have not finished watching the movie you posted for reasons of time constraint. I may give you a feedback if I finish watching it before the thread moves. On this one though:
      1. The drama sends flashbacks reminiscent of the times when we used to demonstrate Ethiopian administrations’ cruelty. Now, the same content is played in a way that illustrates our own government’s treatment on its people. ዘበንያ ግርንቢጥ ማይ ንዓቐብ ዝብሉኻ ከምዚ እዩ።
      2. I have seen a proud people who do not feel ashamed of flying their flag and celebrating their legacy even under the most inconvenient places. Thanks to the government and people of Tigray for allowing our people express their celebratory mood.
      3. You see a sharp contrast between these people and the traditional mute and depressed presence of the political organization who were quick to praise the Ethiopian government and severely restrained to pose nationalist stances, slogans and programs. Some members of these organizations went as far as bashing Eritrean revolution and its hero, Awate. I think the composition of these young population explains the difference. These young people include ex-tegadelti, the children of ex-tegadelti and their families, people who have not moved far away from the influence of their heroic struggle; people who feel betrayed; people who feel they care more than PFDJ cadres for he legacy of their history and sacrifices…They appear to be people who are trying to reclaim stolen fate.
      4. Could this tell us something about awakening the silent majority?
      5. On Kiros Asfaha: The guy is matured. He knows diplomacy, he knows the message he should send to Eritreans…look how he corrected himself from Shabia to HGDF.
      6. This is the way forward. Be proud of your history and identity, respect the people of Ethiopia and thank them for what they have provided; encourage them to do more; encourage the current opposition leaders to read the reality and come up with a workable plan. People are just ready. What’s blocking and becoming a proxy support of PFDJ is the monopoly of few factions for the space of opposition. I hope these young people will take the responsibility of enforcing this to the existing organizations or rise up to becoming leaders.

      • haileTG

        Merhaba Mahmuday,

        IA is a bad engineer. He designed Eritrean problems in a way it will collapse right on top of his head. By driving the people out, he has now created the perfect storm that will wipe him out. When change comes, it will be en mass that his system will not be able to withstand. The transition will of course be lead by those in Eritrea itself. How that will be organized will be seen based on the speed with which the regime is broght down. No doubt the diaspora has created all sorts of political traders in the back of the great misery. The only license to be relevant is constituency and not rhetoric. They have the benefit of time to be relevant but no one will give them anything on a silver platter. This is a peoples revolution.

        Good Night

  • dawit

    Dear all;
    What is the difference between ColE, SEMG and Nevsun reports? They all tried to protect their interest. For CoIE and SEMG, the writers try to protect their lucrative high paying UN jobs and Nevisun tried to protect the profit for their share holders.

    • Tewelde G/mariam

      Your logic against COIE and SEMG can also apply to you too . As a matter of fact, since you are supporting the tyrant, isaias afewerki, whose Crime Against Humanity is self evident, the likelihood that your complicity is stirred by personal interest can be taken for granted.

      The fact that the tyrant has been waging a reign of terror on our people is not debatable because,among many others, second to Syrians , the largest number of people in Europe seeking for help are Eritreans, a phenomenon known world wide, which cannot be hidden from Nevsun.

      If Nevsun claims that the Eritrean laborers are well taken care of, it is because it can get away with it, the tyrant will not allow independent media verification. As was in South Africa during Aparthied, so will be in Eritrea under the impostor isaias afewerki.

      It is good for us to shame Nevsun but we must ourselves be ashamed in the first place for letting the impostor single handedely wreck our country and people. Qiada Al Ama and later, EPLFs simply submitted to his con artistry. Qiada Al Ama, instead of apprehending him as a spy, awarded him prestigious scholarship to Communist China where he mastered how to fool Cheguar Danga, kill/poison those who would either wake up on his plot or would rival his leadership position. He implemented those skills on the EPLFs, who, instead of hating, loved him like their Bilen Ayni.

      But we are not better than either Qiada Al Ama or the EPLFs. Instead of confronting him in unison and save our people and country, unable to differentiate between primary and secondary issues, we are squabbling over trivialities, affording him precious time to finish what he stared. Still worse is that some of us take woyane for a friend. No, we are deadly wrong. Think how these two, woyane and isaias afewerki , wiped out ELF in 1981, and four years later, Badme was handeded over to woyane. And in 1998, isaias afewerki launched illegal and unnecessary a war to seize it by force. Does this seem reasonable to any of us? If this does not seem reasonable to you, think of the Third Woyane Offensive, in which isaias afewerki took absolute control of the military command, and the woyane Forces entered deep into Eritrea to launch a surprise attacks on our Forces at Gask Barka from their rear end. If this is not conspiracy, what is?

      • dawit

        You are right I act in my own self interest. But, unlike UN organizations employee, I don’t make a living out of miserable poor people unfortunate situations. The way you described PIA and his role he played from ELF to Bademe war and in-between, you must worship him like Super natural human being. How does a single person has the power to do all the things that you described is beyond my imagination.

        • Abi

          What is your opinion about those eritreans in refugee camps? I hope you don’t tell me they are ethiopians.

          • dawit

            They are misguided Eritrean kids, who chose to beg rather than work to make a living. Most are underage who never experienced Sawa. They are home sick miss Eritrea terribly but stuck in a refugee camps, deprived of adult guidance and supervision. The artists miss the real Eritrean stage of Bahti Meskerem in Asmara. They try to keep their professional aspiration by being used as EPRDF propaganda machine against Eritrea..

          • Dear dawit,
            If there is any Eritrean who is misguided, you must be the one, and of course, few others as well. In the open prison DIA has created, with the help of his diehard supporters, the only job available
            to the young is to work in the mines or plantations as slave laborers, or rot in the famous concentration camp at sawa and the trenches at the borders. These underage kids might have not yet gone through sawa, nevertheless, one or both parents have been made to serve in the open-ended military serves, or have been turned into slave-laborers or refugees, or they could be among those who lost their lives as they tried to reach freedom. As much as you and others on the wrong side are concerned, whoever does not serve the great monster is a sellout and not
            worthy to be called an Eritrean. That is why the Eritrean artist said that the regime is on its deathbed fighting for its last breathe.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Horizon:
            I know several Eritreans who were planning to tough it out but then their kids turned 18 and went to the slavery capital of the continent, dawit’s beloved Sawa and they left in disgust after serving since 1994 to enrich the snow birds like dawit. As papi said dawit is worried, his soul is anguished and his pipe dream of straddling the 3 worlds od USA, Eritrea and Ethiopia vanishes every day. His shame of what PFDJ has turned to is manifesting in the absurdities you have tackled

          • Abi

            I know you are just joking. What adult superviion are you talking about? The adults are not around. They are away on slavery services for an unknown period of time.
            One of the adults said he served in the military for 20 years. In fact he said almost everybody has served in military services. He also mentioned SAWA as something to be avoided.
            He said eritrea is not a place to live.
            You sound like some one who doesn’t like his people.

        • T..T.

          Hi Dawit,

          The point requested to be clarified here is: If Badumma was a gift given of Isayas’s own free will; it means the gift was not forced upon Isayas unless he proves it otherwise.

          Since a gift given of one’s own free-will cannot be asked back by force, repeat by force, here Isayas’s practice of giving a gift does not even fit the American popular saying “Indian giver,” which signifies an expression of a gift given can be asked back later peacefully. Under the expression of “Indian giver,” the call back of the gift given could be due to a broken promise or failure on the part of the gift-taker to meet the expectation of the gift giver.

          Therefore, the question that Isayas has to answer is: why the use of force to get back what was given peacefully out of friendship?