RAID began in 1998 as a pioneering research project at the University of Oxford focused on the human rights impact of the privatisation of Zambia’s state-owned copper mines. The project uncovered secret investment agreements, inadequate oversight by government bodies and corporate malpractice, with little or no consideration of the rights of local populations. The findings were ground-breaking and helped set the direction for RAID’s subsequent work: clarifying the human rights responsibilities of corporations and seeking to develop effective mechanisms for curbing corporate misconduct.

RAID expanded its work to other countries in Africa and in 2013 became a fully registered UK charity and limited company.

As a small organization, RAID has amplified its impact through strong partnerships with local human rights and victim groups in Africa, international human rights NGOs and a large network of leading law firms in the US, UK, Canada and Australia who often work pro-bono on our cases. In 2003, RAID co-founded the international NGO network, OECD Watch, the leading coalition testing the effectiveness of the OECD guidelines for multinational companies. RAID also co-founded the international network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), developing its corporate accountability strategy.  These partnerships remain critical to RAID’s future work.

RAID’s team of committed and experienced professionals based in the UK have produced impressive results. Many of these have been in Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania where extractive companies have often run roughshod over the rights of local communities.

Here is just a sample of RAID’s achievements. 

- RAID leads the way in using the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises to improve corporate behaviour. RAID has filed 22 OECD complaints against companies for human rights abuses and environmental damage – more than any other NGO – and been involved as an expert partner in 10 other cases. In a case brought by RAID in 2008 relating to events in Congo, the UK government found that a British aviation company had breached the human rights provisions of the OECD guidelines. It was the first time any OECD government had made such a determination and paved the way for others.

- RAID’s forensic research leads to criminal and civil penalties against a US based hedge fund. In 2013, RAID submitted to US and UK law authorities a detailed analysis of questionable transactions in Congo and Zimbabwe mining deals by one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Och-Ziff. We also influenced a large California pension fund (CalPERS) to withdraw from Och-Ziff on the basis of its human rights record. In September 2016, US officials found Och-Ziff had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The hedge fund was forced to pay $412 million in combined criminal and civil penalties, one of the largest settlements by a Wall Street firm and the first time a hedge fund was held to account. UK authorities continue to investigate the hedge fund’s client, the multinational mining company ENRC (now called ERG), for its role in the corruption as highlighted by RAID. This case has opened the door to further examination of the involvement of private equity and hedge funds in violating sanctions and contributing to human rights violations abroad.
- RAID’s achieves landmark compensation for Congolese victims of Anvil Mining in a precedent setting judgement by the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights. RAID’s investigation of a massacre of over 70 civilians by the Congolese army in 2004 in Kilwa, a remote town in DRC, highlighted the role of Anvil Mining, an Australian-Canadian company which provided logistical and other crucial support to the soldiers. RAID’s long campaign to hold the company to account in different jurisdictions around the world starkly highlighted the governance gap for cross-border corporate crimes. In June 2017, the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights became the first to recognize the crimes committed and awarded $2.5 million in compensation to 8 of the victims. The Commission publicly rebuked the mining company for its role and ordered the Congolese government to open a new investigation, including into the role of Anvil’s staff.

- Chinese government issues guidance on corporate accountability after RAID report. Following publication of a 2009 RAID report on the human rights abuses by Chinese companies operating in Congo and a follow-up Amnesty International report based on RAID’s fieldwork, the Chinese government took action.The Chinese government introduced social and environmental guidance for its banks investing in companies operating abroad and in 2015 adopted due diligence guidance for responsible mineral supply chains

For more information, download RAID's Fifteenth Anniversary Report