DAKAR, March 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Civil society groups rejected Guinea’s first policy seeking to protect people displaced by mines and dams on Thursday, saying it would worsen poverty and conflict in the mineral-rich nation.
Seven human rights and development organisations asked the government not to adopt the proposed national standards for relocating and compensating displaced communities, and to spend the next six months consulting with local people instead.
“If the document is adopted like this, it means the problem will never be resolved,” said Mamady Koivogui, executive director of the Association for Mines Without Poverty, one of the groups which hosted a Conakry news conference on Thursday.
“The essential aspects that would prevent people from falling into poverty … are not addressed in detail. This document will only create more conflict and confusion.”
The West African country has among the world’s biggest bauxite and iron ore reserves, which have attracted international mining firms, fuelling anger among locals who say they are evicted without fair consultation or compensation.