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Democratic republic of Congo: Congo’s victims of corruption

victims of corruption

On 16 September 2009, the Kingamyambo Musonoi Tailings (KMT) mine in Kolwezi in Democratic Republic of Congo suddenly closed, against the company’s will. A company official told the confused workers the Congolese government had unlawfully stripped First Quantum Minerals, a Canadian company which owned the copper and cobalt mine, of its mining licence. The 700 Congolese workers no longer had jobs.

One of the workers, Jean returned home, uncertain about his future. A few days later, his 14-year-old son, Benoit*, fell ill. Jean took his son to the health clinic that treated KMT workers and their families, a benefit he received from his employment at the mine. But because the mine had closed, the doctor refused to treat Benoit unless his father could pay the medical fees upfront. Not having received his last paycheque, and with no severance pay, Jean lacked the funds. He had no option but to leave carrying his sick son. On their way home, Benoit died.

Action against the corruption that led to the mining licence being stripped and the mine’s closure has been taken in the United States; however, to date, the detrimental impact on Congolesevictims of the corruption, like Jean and his family, have not been considered in any investigation or legal action. Their voices, like so many other victims of corruption, are largely ignored.

This report aims to demonstrate the reasons why Jean, and others in the affected communities, should be considered overseas victims of corruption. As a step towards this, the focus of this report is on the identification and recognition of such victims and the harm caused to them. Any legal proceedings against entities or persons involved in corruption should recognise victims, like Jean, and include then in any compensation that might arise. 

Download the full report