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In August 2012, managers of British mining corporation Lonmin urged the South African mining ministry to take “appropriate” measures against striking mine workers at the platinum mine located in Marikana region, with the help of the police and the armed forces. On August 16, 44 miners were murdered by the police while protesting and 77 were seriously wounded.
This is partly why groundWork - Friends of the Earth South Africa and the Bench Marks Foundation submitted Lonmin to the Public Eye People’s Award that chooses the worst corporation once a year. This submission was based on the human rights violations and environmental destruction that the corporation has carried out since the establishment of its mine in the Marikana region in the North West province of South Africa, according to a press release issued by the organizations.
Real World Radio interviewed groundWork’s media and information campaigner, Megan Lewis, who explained in detail why Lonmin was shortlisted as the worst company of 2012. For more information about the seven candidates to the award and to cast a vote, please visit: publiceye.ch/en/vote by January 23rd.
Lonmin will compete against the Swiss energy company Repower, the renowned US-based financial group Goldman Sachs, the Coal India mining company, the French energy and transport company Alstom, the British security services corporation G4S and Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell.
The Public Eye Awards were created to mark a critical counterpoint to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the financial, corporate and political elites of the world meet by the end of January. These awards have been organized since 2000 by Berne Declaration and Friends of the Earth (in 2009 replaced by Greenpeace). According to their website, these awards remind the corporate world that social and environmental misdeeds have consequences - for the affected people and territory, but also for the reputation of the offender.
Lewis told Real World Radio that goundWork and the Bench Marks Foundation nominated Lonmin for the Public Eye Awards because of the environmental destruction and the human rights violations caused by the company. This corporation puts their huge profits over the people’s ability to meet basic standards of living in a healthy environment, warned the activist.
The member of groundWork also made reference to the massacre of August 16 in Marikana and the pain this has brought to the South African people, she talked about the role of the government of her country and how the Public Eye Awards nomination is useful to denounce Lonmin at international level.
Please watch the video published at the Public Eye Awards’ website about Lonmin’s nomination:
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