South African Gold Miners Lawsuit

A look at the lawsuit brought by South African gold miners

 

 

Mining operations, but particularly precious metal and gold mining operations, are understood by most anyone and everyone – industry insiders and outsiders are like – to be a pretty dirty job.  Anytime you are talking about breaking apart the earth in a grand scale, diving deep beneath the soil to excavate, sift, and locate precious metals and minerals from other natural resources you’re talking about a tremendous amount of waste, a tremendous amount of equipment, and a tremendous consumption of fossil fuels – all of which reduces a pretty steady flow of poor quality air throughout the entirety of the mining operation.

 

This is the backbone and foundation contention of a class-action lawsuit brought together by thousands of mine workers and employees living and working in South Africa, all of which have developed lung diseases related to the conditions of their daily work.

 

The lawsuit itself began gaining steam about eight years ago or so but wasn’t brought into the courts of South Africa until six years ago, when thousands of minors throughout the South African region were diagnosed with silicosis – a deadly and dangerous lung disease that is only caused by inhaling the silica dust that is so prevalent in gold mining operations.

 

Progress on the class-action lawsuit has been slow and steady over the past half decade or so. In January 2018, negotiations between the plaintiffs and the defendants slowed down to a pause in the action has tempers were running high in the figures that were being bandied about weren’t anywhere near one another and there didn’t look to be any common ground that could have been breached.

 

However, now in February 2018, it appears as though the class-action lawsuit is closer to a legitimate settlement than ever before. The Working Group on Occupational Lung Disease (the organization representing the six individual gold mining operations that are part of the class-action lawsuit) announced that there has been substantial movement towards a $755 million (US) settlement between all aggrieved parties – and that the settlement could be ratified before the end of the month or the middle of March, at the very latest.

 

Lead attorneys and legal representatives from this organization are in the mind to settle. Almost all of the claimants of this class-action lawsuit are black mining individuals from South Africa and neighboring regions, many of which were not provided with any adequate protection or safety equipment after apartheid rule ceased to exist in South Africa in 1994.

 

The gold mining operations do not want to peel the scab off of those old wounds, and for good reason. Many of them also recognize that these individual minors have a reason to feel aggrieved in the first place, recognize that they were put in harm’s way, and understand that they are going through serious turmoil and will have their lives significantly shortened because of the work that they put into these gold mines over the last 30 or 40 years.

 

Stay tuned for more updates regarding this settlement offer and the agreement that these parties are poised to reach with one another.

 

The Lawsuit Against BNP Paribas by Sudanese Refugees

As more and more Sudanese refugees join the United States, it seems extremely likely that you are going to see more and more lawsuits coming forward. You will find these lawsuits aimed at a very specific group of individuals. More to the point, you are going to see these lawsuits pointed at war profiteers.

 What Does the Lawsuit Mean for The Future

 If the recent lawsuit against BNP Paribas is any indication of things, companies, banks, or other organizations that might qualify as “war profiteers” should be highly nervous. While these lawsuits cannot hope to replace the damage that has been done against the region of Darfur and elsewhere, it is worth seeing something positive in what has happened so far. It is worth seeing something positive, in terms of what might happen in the future and it might be a new strategy to curb horrendous behavior from groups that believed they would not be held accountable.

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On May 2nd, 2016 refugees from Sudan filed a complaint against BNP Paribas in U.S. Federal Court. According to the lawsuit it was filed in regards to the banking institution’s contributions to the genocides in Darfur. This same lawsuit believes that the bank had given funds to the Sudanese government. These funds in turn were used to purchase bombs, tanks, and other instruments of war. All of this hardware was then turned over to the pro-Sudan militia. Thus far, this militia has murdered hundreds of thousands of people. Thousands of villages have been obliterated. Millions of people have been displaced.

As mentioned before, these lawsuits are beyond understandable. In regards to the ongoing lawsuit against BNP Paribas, it is profoundly important to pay attention to the outcome. It is going to give us a clear indication of what future lawsuits against war profiteers might entail.

 Hard Times for BNP Paribas?

 This isn’t the first time that BNP Paribas has found itself in some form of trouble. The lawsuit from the Sudanese refugees comes approximately two years after BNP Paribas was required to pay nine billion dollars, in exchange for bad dealings with “rogue” nations. For over a decade, the French Bank has had to contend with rumors and accusations of their financial dealings. It would seem that in the present, they are finally beginning to pay back a small percentage of the enormous amount of money they have gained from the suffering from others, according to critics of the bank.

To put it one way: Accusations against BNP Paribas goes back to the days of Saddam Hussein.

Although BNP Paribas has been successful against certain lawsuits (such as one from federal court), they have found themselves coming up largely short, according to critics.

With the Sudanese lawsuit, more than one dozen victims of the ongoing tragedies in Darfur and elsewhere have come forward. They have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the weapons funded by BNP caused their pain. As information has revealed, this pain has come in the form of murder, destruction of their homes, perhaps permanent displacement, rape, and more. The stories are horrifying. The details are overwhelming. It has been suggested for years that BNP Paribas has had connections to some of the most monstrous governments and dictators in recent history. At long last, individuals who have survived the horrors of Sudan are looking to hurt the French bank, according to critics. They endeavor to do this in the most effective fashion possible.
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 Will Other Sudanese Refugees File Lawsuits?

 Part of the complaint makes clear that the transactions named in the suit played a vital role in financing the crude oil exports from Sudan. Approximately eighty-five percent of the economy of Sudan comes from this specific export.

As far as the future of these types of lawsuits go, it is going to be worth paying attention to what comes out of the current suit. Furthermore, you will want to consider the fact that as more and more Sudanese refugees become United States citizens, you are talking about more and more individuals who are going to have the power of the U.S. courts in their corner. To be sure, this is something rather powerful to have. At the same time, as we mentioned before, it is going to be important to pay attention to the current lawsuit filed against BNP.

The results of that lawsuit are going to send a profound message to other Sudanese refugees.

Information On the Darfur War

The Darfur War is not something that you can truly sum up in a couple of sentences, or one article. This is a multifaceted, complex issue. Furthermore, it is an issue that has thus far resulted in the deaths of thousands upon thousands. It is a situation that has raged for more than a decade. It is also a situation with severe short-term consequences and long-term consequences.

To put it another way, to understand the Darfur War is to understand tragedy. Even a basic understanding of the Darfur War is going to involve understanding several different facts.

 What and Where Is Darfur?

 You can find Darfur in the western portion of Sudan, which is located in Africa. One of the first things you will want to keep in mind is that Darfur is not a country. The area is home to approximately six million individuals, and it is roughly as large as France. You can find Darfur next to Khartoum.

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The majority of the individuals who live in Darfur are Muslim. The region is divided amongst Arabs, who often exist as a nomadic herder type, and Africans, who generally exist as the poor. Due neglectfulness on the part of the government, the area in general has become extremely poor, lacking in a voice, and desperate. Non-Arab ethnicities in Darfur began to rise up against the government of Khartoum.

Unfortunately, the Sudanese government began to implement a genocidal campaign against these non-Arab groups. To carry out this horrific endeavor, the Sundanese government enlisted the assistance of the Janjaweed. This would be an Arab militia from Darfur. All of this began to transpire across 2003. As the years went on, things would only serve to become worse.

Genocide in Darfur 

In the years since the conflict began in Darfur, the killings, rapes, and rampant destruction from the Janjaweed and Sudanese government has only worsened. Over four hundred thousand individuals have died. The destruction to the villages and lives that once populated Darfur is almost unfathomable. Millions of people have become displaced.

While the Sudanese government has made pittances towards improving the situation, such as allowing over twenty-six thousand peacekeeper troops into the region, their contempt for Darfur as a whole remains tragically clear. Millions now exist without a home. Millions still continue to rely on minimal-to-non-existent humanitarian assistance from the global community.

In the present, you now have the United States, Europe, and other places doing what they can with the issue of millions and millions of displaced individuals. There are numerous facts from the timeline that can serve to give you a better understanding of where things are in the present.

Where We Are Today

It is staggering to consider just how much has occurred, since this genocide first began to take shape in 2003. It has been approximately five years since South Sudan achieved its independence. It has been six years since the peace accord between JEM and Sudan was put into place. It has been nearly a full decade since the disastrous UN hybrid peacekeeping effort.

The milestones can continue. Some of them suggest glimmers of hope. Too many emphasize the bloodshed and chaos that continue. Three years ago, a Doha conference promised 3.6 billion to help in restoration efforts. In 2014 alone, thirty-three hundred villages were completely wiped out.

It took reports from Amnesty International in 2003 to begin to move attention towards the Darfur War.

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At the same time, keeping all of this information in mind, you have to also remember the roles of other countries. As people consider the pros and cons of so many people immigrating to the United States, Europe, or elsewhere, countries like China and Russia have come under considerable criticism. Both countries have come under fire from the United Nations, as well as from individual countries, for perceived relationships with Sudan. On separate occasions, both China and Russia have denied the breaking of sanctions from the UN.

What is the future of the Darfur War? This is not an easy question to answer. There are countless Conflictfacts, figures, and horror stories that can serve to shape an opinion on the future of Darfur. One thing most of these opinions can agree upon is it is a source of shame that more has not been done.