MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Mining and Human Rights Lawyer Arrested in Tanzania

Published by MAC on 2003-01-03

Mining and Human Rights Lawyer Arrested in Tanzania

Press release and Urgent Action

January 3, 2003

from Miningwatch Canada

Tundu Lissu, a Tanzanian human rights lawyer and outspoken advocate for an independent international inquiry into the evictions at the Bulyanulu mine, in August 1996, was detained by police on December 23 in Dar Es Salaam, and held for over 24 hours in an underground jail known as "The Hole."

There was no probable cause and no warrant for his arrest. He and his colleagues at the Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) have been subjected to increasing harassment for their dogged pursuit if justice for the small scale miners who were evicted in 1996 to make way for Barrick Gold's enormous Bulyanhulu gold mine. They have been charged with sedition, but argue that the sedition law is unconstitutional. On December 7, Lissu returned voluntarily from the United States to Dar Es Salaam with his wife and twin baby sons.

LEAT lawyers are also restrained by magistrate's order, from travel and from speaking out about the events at Bulyanhulu. They hope to speak to the World Bank Extractive Industries Review in Maputo on January 13-17, since Bulyanhulu will be one of the case studies. Their right to travel to this meeting must be protected.

We ask that concerned persons write or fax the Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Tanzanian High Commission, asking that there be an independent international inquiry and that the harassment of Lissu and others be stopped.

Hon. Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs fax (613) 996-9607, e-mail Graham.B@parl.gc.ca 125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0G2 His Excellency the High Commissioner High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania fax (613) 232-5184, e-mail tzottawa@synapse.net 50 Range Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 8J4

See the issues page of our web site at http://www.miningwatch.ca/issues.html for background and details of the situation at Bulyanulu.

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