Canada’s top court rules Nevsun lawsuit can proceed, paving way for more overseas abuse cases – Jeff Lewis and Sharadha Singh (Reuters Canada – February 28, 2020)

(Reuters) – Canada’s top court on Friday said a lawsuit by Eritrean workers against miner Nevsun Resources Ltd can proceed, a decision that clears the way for cases to be brought domestically against Canadian companies accused of abuses abroad.

Legal advocates and civil society groups hailed the court’s 5-4 decision as a landmark victory. The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal from Nevsun and said a lawsuit by three Eritrean workers against the miner for alleged violations of human rights could go forward.

The plaintiffs, who were employed by Nevsun at its Bisha gold mine in Eritrea, Africa, have accused the company of slavery, forced labor and crimes against humanity.

“It sends a clear message that you could be sued in Canada if you become entangled or engaged in human rights abuses abroad,” said plaintiff lawyer Joe Fiorante at Vancouver law firm Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman LLP.

Nevsun, bought last year by China’s Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd (601899.SS), has denied the allegations.

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