Target: Macky Sall, President of Senegal
Goal: Call for stricter legislation to abolish exploitation due to Senegal’s ‘gold rush’
Where there is gold, there will be exploitation, and in the rural communities of Senegal land rights are being stripped from the Senegalese people to grant concessions to money-hungry mining companies. In a report by Amnesty International, Mining, and Human Rights in Senegal, whole communities are being uprooted to make way for international mining companies, eager to exploit Senegal’s rich gold and mineral reserves.
Caught in the middle of this race for profit are the families who occupy these communities. Without due regard for the impact that relocation can have on them, the government of Senegal has engaged in a blatant breach of their duty to protect its people as stated under international law. Many of these families are forcibly evicted from their homes without prior notification and sent to live in extremely underdeveloped sections of rural Senegal where food, water, and other basic needs are scarce.
Although the ‘gold rush’ is still in its early stages, with The Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Ghana being the leading mining industries with over 1.5 million international mining markets between them, Senegal is catching up, determined to turn gold into the country’s main source of economic stability. This ambition has set the stage for human rights violations, exploitation, and is cause for concern as Senegal shows signs of adopting the human rights abuses rampant in extractive industries in other parts of West Africa.
Under Senegal’s current mining laws the people that once occupied the land in which these mining companies found gold are not entitled to any compensation. The government has also refused to consider the negative effects of displacement, especially on women and children. In the Kedougou region, one of the communities hit hardest by the ‘gold rush’, families struggle to survive in shabby accommodations and on insufficient land where water for growing crops is inadequate and necessities like plumbing are nonexistent.
Human rights should never be second place to a country’s economic interests. Sign the petition to tell Senegal’s President Macky Sall that his government must respect international law and take steps to ensure that these human rights violations are prevented.
Dear President Macky Sall,
It has come to my attention that Senegal’s ‘gold rush’ has encouraged disturbing patterns of human rights abuses in rural communities. Whole families are being relocated to make way for international mining markets, without regard for their livelihoods; told to survive on land that’s virtually impossible to grow crops on, where water is scarce and plumbing doesn’t exist. The horrors of the mining industry’s human rights violations are apparent in other parts of West Africa, like Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where people lose their lives for the sake of gold.
It is understandable that you want to achieve economic growth and stability, but human rights should never be second place to commercial interests. Your government should be doing all it can to ensure that the people of Senegal are never exploited. I urge you to draft stricter legislation so that further exploitation ceases to exist.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Laura Lartigue via wikimedia