Press Statement of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the adoption of new mining legislation in the DRC

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) welcomes the adoption by the Senate of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of the new Mining Code in late January 2018 and commends in particular its provision for increases in royalties on copper, cobalt and gold, introduction of a profit-windfall tax and as well as requiring that a small percentage of companies’ turnover go to local development needs.

    However, the Commission notes with apprehension the ongoing campaign of the biggest mining companies operating in the DRC, including Glencore, Randgold, China Molybdenum Co., Ivanhoe Mines, MMG, Zijin Mining Group Co. and AngloGold Ashanti to have Congolese President Joseph Kabila not sign the Mining Code into law. 

    The Commission is particularly concerned by reports that even after the decision by the Senate to adopt the legislation, these companies sent a letter to President Kabila on 08 February 2018 in which they requested for a meeting to put forward their position, including the assertion that the Mining Code would discourage investment.

    The Commission views these actions as an attempt to undermine the will of the people as expressed through their parliamentary representatives and to exercise undue influence in order to promote the interests of these multinational companies, to the detriment of the people of the DRC in whom the right to the natural resources in the DRC is vested including as provided for in Article 21 of the African Charter. 

    The Commission reiterates the duty of State Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights under Article 21 to exercise the right to dispose of their wealth and natural resources “in the exclusive interest of the people”, and in this regard:

    1.     Commends the Senate for adopting the Mining Code and urges its members to work with their constituents to have the Code signed into law by the President and fully operationalised;

    2.     Calls on the President of the DRC to follow the example of the Senate and exercise his constitutional responsibility by signing the Mining Code in the exclusive interest of the people of the DRC;

    3.     Urges the Government of the DRC to continue legislative and other reforms of the mining sector in order to ensure that the operations of extractive industries comply with internationally acceptable standards of fiscal and transparency obligations, environmental standards and the rights of the people of DRC and particularly those living in the areas where extractive industries operate and that the revenues received are managed and used transparently and accountably; and

    4.     Applauds the citizens of the DRC, particularly those living in the areas where extractive industries operate as well as civil society organisations for exercising their rights in pushing for the adoption of the Mining Code by the Senate and urges them and advocacy groups to continue towards the signing into law of the Mining Code by the President as well as the adoption of other necessary reforms to ensure full realisation of their human and peoples’ rights in the extractive industries.


    Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso

    Chairperson of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights

    Banjul, 22 February 2018


      Date: 22 February 2018


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