We strive to provide a continuous positive difference to the communities where we operate in by providing meaningful employment and training opportunities. We promote open dialogue from all stakeholders on improving our workplace processes. We do not tolerate any violations of human rights. This applies to everyone including employees, contractors, subcontractors or affiliates and stakeholders.
Nevsun integrates respect for human rights into its Code of Ethics and its human rights policy. This commitment is also illustrated in each of BMSC's Code of Conduct and Employee Policies. Our approach to human rights is evolving and ongoing and we are committed to international and national principles and guidance as well as integrating the recommendations from our recently completed human rights impact assessment (see below) into our management and monitoring systems.
All of our recruitment confirms to the Human Resources and Employment Plan (the "Plan") - BMSC has policies and procedures in place to protect against under-age workers at its operations and only employs persons that are 18 years of age and older. This complies with the national law in Eritrea and a formal identification card, which is a prerequisite to employment at the Bisha Mine, can only be granted once an Eritrean citizen reaches the age of 18.
Specific to our Bisha operation, the Plan also mandates that all personnel hired must demonstrate that they have been cleared from the Eritrean national service. Both our contractors and sub-contractors are currently in compliance with this formal process.
The security standard in Nevsun's operations is designed to assess risks and protect the Company's people and assets in a manner which minimizes conflict and respects the human rights of its stakeholders. We ensure our security is managed in a way that respects and protects human rights, avoids creating and or escalating conflict, and addresses security threats in as peaceful a way as possible. Our security services are provided by a local Eritrean contractor and 100% of its employees are required to receive regular training in security protocols and procedures, which includes aspects of human rights including harassment, discrimination, and cultural awareness. We have adopted the Voluntary Principles on Human Rights and Security and implemented numerous policies to ensure all employees, contractors and subcontractors are treated with dignity and respect at all times. In conjunction with the Human Rights Impact Assessment, Nevsun has embarked on a program to ensure its security contractor and BMSC managers will be trained annually in the Voluntary Principles on Human Rights and Security.
THE BISHA MINE HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACT ASSESSMENT
To read a copy of the full report please click here.
Respect for human rights is one of the core values at Nevsun. This commitment to human rights means that the Company needs to assess the impacts that it may have on affected stakeholders on an ongoing basis.
In mid-2013/early 2014, Nevsun commissioned its first independent Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) at its Bisha Mine to better understand strengths and identify areas where human rights best practices can be embedded in Eritrea and wherever it operates. To implement the HRIA, an independent international human rights lawyer has undertaken two field missions to Eritrea in October 2013 and January 2014 to gather information, review documentation and visit the Bisha Mine. The assessment team has conducted interviews and focus groups with a wide range of stakeholders including Nevsun and ENAMCO's senior management; Eritrean government officials; BMSC employees and managers; local community leaders; and employees and managers of Eritrean contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.
A broad and comprehensive mandate was given for the HRIA to examine the full spectrum of human and labour rights through a review of the policies and management systems in place at the Bisha Mine and engagement with stakeholders in Eritrea. Specifically, Nevsun wished to better understand where there may be risks, associated with their operations, of human rights impacts on workers and local communities.
The HRIA prioritized the following:
- Labour rights, including freedom from forced labour, freedom of association, working conditions and training opportunities.
- Human rights related to the environment, including the human right to water and sanitation.
- Community development and stakeholder engagement with local communities.
- Security and human rights.
- Human rights due diligence with respect to business partners and supply chain.
- Grievance mechanisms at the operational level.
The recommendations to support ongoing due diligence for human rights at the Bisha Mine resulting from the assessment include:
- Adopting and embedding a more explicit human rights policy
- Conducting further human rights training at Bisha
- Integrating human rights considerations into the implementation of the 2012 IFC Performance Standards at the Bisha Mine
- Engaging on human rights with suppliers, contractors and subcontractors
- Developing a framework and protocols to ensure the effective implementation and coordination of all grievance mechanisms
- Continuing discussions surrounding the implementation of the Community Assistance Programme (CAP)
Upon the completion of the HRIA, Nevsun published and made publicly available a summary of the report, and also committed to providing a public response to the HRIA, developing and sharing an action plan resulting from the HRIA process, and continuing to report on human rights in its annual CSR Report. In 2014, Nevsun representatives met in person with interested stakeholder groups to review the full report, its recommendations, and planned Company follow-up.
Nevsun has received constructive feedback regarding the commitment to the principles of accountability and transparency, and that our actions to date have represented good practice in the emerging field of impact assessment related to human rights.
In 2015, Nevsun completed its 2nd third-party audit of its human rights performance at the Bisha Mine and the nearby communities. A copy of this full report can be found here.
Nevsun has issued a preliminary response to this recent audit on August 28th, 2015 and it can be retrieved here. Nevsun plans to issue a more detailed work plan regarding its sustained commitment to human rights in the coming months. This will enable Nevsun to meet with a good cross-section of its stakeholders globally and within Eritrea to discuss this recent audit and suggestive next steps.
Human rights are integral to Nevsun's corporate values and shape the expectations of many of its stakeholders. Most importantly, human rights are fundamental to the ongoing dignity, safety and well-being of the individuals and groups that are affected by the Company's operations.