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The Sino-Congolaise des Mines facing the Challenge of the Millennium: How Sicomines deprived communities of their rights after polluting the environment

This report is the result of an investigation which AFREWATCH conducted  in  January and February 2017. The purpose of the investigation consisted in documenting the consequences of the incident that occurred on  September 9, 2016 and in assessing the compensation process that Sicomines initiated. AFREWATCH is thus revealing to the international community the problems found and proposing solutions to government and company decision makers.

AFREWATCH documented the current impacts based on field investigation and populations testimonies regarding the contamination of the soil, vegetable gardens and the Luilu River. The findings include permanent health problems, especially in several villages. The results of the investigation confirm that no clean-up action has been taken in any of the areas affected by the incident. According to populations the investigation team to, the incident severely affected their living environment and means of subsistence. This report contains claims from communities demanding the cleaning up of contaminated soil and the compensation of the victims.

The results of this investigation show that compensation was only carried out in the Sapatelo neighbourhood. However, the consequences of the incident could be seen in the villages of Noa, Yenge and Sept. Claims by the local communities to State officials and to Sicomines mainly focus on compensation for the victims and clean-up of the physical environment.

In addition this report shows that the legal and regulatory provisions on protection of the socio-economic environment and compensation for local communities have not been applied effectively regarding compensation of the victims and reparation of the environment.  AFREWATCH will rely on this report to make advocacy actions with the support of other groups from the international and domestic nongovernmental organisations committed to this matter in order to hold the company liable for the incident and, ultimately, for reparations for the losses and damage suffered by the victims and the environment.

This investigation revealed that while Sicomines did indeed compensate 24 people affected by the incident in the village of Sapatelo, other communities were still facing consequences of the incident and therefore were also entitled to receive compensation. Moreover, the fact that the Luilu River and the soil have not been cleaned up has a very negative effect on the living conditions of these communities because their fields, vegetable gardens and the Luilu River constitute their main source of income.

Download the report