By RAID

 - December 21, 2014

RAID, Bread for All and Fastenopfer have released an update to their report PR or Progress? Glencore’s Corporate Responsibility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, published in English in June 2014. On the eve of publication, Glencore attempted to delay the report’s release, claiming that it contained ‘significant factual errors’ and ‘detailed information and key findings’ which had not previously been put to the company – a breach, according to Glencore, of the Memorandum of Understanding agreed at the outset of the research.

RAID, Bread for All and Fastenopfer categorically deny this assertion. All of the report’s conclusions were submitted in advance to the company and discussed with them on various occasions in person or in writing. The findings and recommendations of the site visits were presented to Glencore in November 2013, eight months before the publication of the report. In early May Glencore was sent a detailed list of key findings. On 21 May, after an additional meeting had been held to discuss the points at issue, Glencore submitted its written comments, which were fully reflected in the final report. Glencore received an advance copy of the report four days before publication. Glencore therefore was fully aware of all the environmental, social, human rights and tax issues that are raised in the report, well before its publication.

The findings relate to Glencore’s operations at KCC and MUMI. The main conclusions reached at the time the report was published still stand. They include the following:

  • Effluent bearing heavy metals from the KCC plant continued to be discharged into the Albert Canal and into the Luilu River. Although Glencore claims that this finding is incorrect, the company never published its own water quality measurements.
  • The behaviour of security teams is a matter of concern. Eric Mutombo Kasuyi, 23, died on 15 February 2014, shortly after being apprehended by a KCC security patrol. Medical evidence confirmed that he died not from natural causes, as the company alleged, but from internal injuries sustained around the time of his arrest.
  • KCC and MUMI’s engagement with communities is inadequate.
  • Blasting at KCC’s mine has been going on close to residents’ homes in Musonoï for years making their lives a misery. KCC has not consulted, resettled or compensated the most affected families.
  • KCC pays no dividends and almost no income tax to the Congolese State, in spite of the fact that the Katanga Mining group is making huge profits.

Since the report was published the trial of the two policemen accused of unlawful killing has taken place before the military court in Kolwezi. Both were acquitted. Medical evidence confirmed that Mutombo had died as a result of injuries he had sustained which were consistent with his having been beaten. The victims’ family and the military prosecutor have lodged an appeal against the verdict, which was characterised by the prosecutor as ‘mal jugé’ or flawed. Glencore has still not answered questions about the inconsistencies and discrepancies in KCC’s version of circumstances of Mr Mutombo’s death.

RAID, Bread for All and Fastenopfer have taken the opportunity of the publication of the French version of the report to reply in detail to the criticisms that Glencore has widely disseminated. In order to set the record straight and correct any misleading impressions contained in Glencore’s press release and other public statements, the NGOs are asking Glencore to post this preface on its website. So far, Glencore has declined to do so.[1]

The French version of the report, Réel progrès ou culture de l'image? La responsabilité d'entreprise de Glencore en République Démocratique du Congo, is available on the websites of RAID, Bread for All and Fastenopfer.

In previous communications concerning the violent death of Eric Mutombo Kasuyi on KCC’s site, Glencore states that RAID, Bread for All and Fastenopfer made ‘severe accusations [that] are not true’; that our press release about the case[2] contained ‘clearly false allegations’; and that PR or Progress? makes ‘a number of wild and unsubstantiated claims and assumptions’.[3]

RAID, Bread for All and Action de Carême stand by the statements made – all of which were substantiated at the time and which have also been borne out by subsequent events – and we require Glencore to retract its aspersion that we deal in untruths, which is damaging to our reputation.

[1] Email from Michael Fahrbach of Glencore to Tricia Feeney of RAID, 2 December 2014: ‘Thanks for forwarding this note. We looked into it and don't see the need to alter our position we issued back in June this year.’

[2] Bread for All, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and RAID, Press Release, “Violent Deaths on Glencore’s Mining Concession in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”, 27 March 2014 .

[3] Letter from Michael Farhbach of Glencore to Tricia Feeney of RAID, 27 March 2014; letter from Charles Watenpuhl of Glencore to Chantal Peyer of Bread for All and Patricia Feeney of RAID, 16 June 2014.

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