Sign the Petition for Norway to Divest from Fossil Fuels

May 1, 2015 Posted by otwatchweb

Fossil Free Norway

Russian and Mongolian Groups Oppose World Bank Funding To Hydro Dams on Mongolia’s Largest Rivers for Mining and Energy Projects

March 2, 2015 Posted by otwatchweb

Groups file petition with the Bank’s Inspection Panel to probe projects that directly threaten Lake Baikal

March 2, 2015

Ulaanbaatar – In mid-February, community representatives from Russia and Mongolia – along with several of environmental and human rights NGOs – submitted a request for an investigation to the World Bank’s independent accountability arm, the Inspection Panel. The complainants center on the Mongolian Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project (MINIS). Specifically, they raise concerns regarding the Shuren Hydropower Plant and the Orkhon-Gobi Water Diversion. For example, the WB completely disregards its own operational policy OP 4.04 – Natural Habitats, when selecting the dam projects on unique rivers with globally endangered species as target for its technical assistance.

While the Bank is currently only funding the feasibility studies and the environmental and social impact assessments, the complainants and their supporting NGOs (Greenpeace Russia, Rivers Without Boundaries, and academics in Russia and Mongolia) are concerned that these will serve as a rubber-stamp for the Mongolian government to begin construction of these widely unpopular projects.

“These plans are extremely dangerous for the ecosystem of the Selenge, the largest river in Mongolia and Buryatia, but also for Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Selenge is Lake Baikal’s main tributary. Inevitably, the lake’s fauna will be badly affected, the hydrological regime and the climate will change, and regional seismicity may rise. The Bank neglects its own policy on the access to information, project implementation controls and on the environmental and social safeguards. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has already twice appealed to Mongolia emphasizing that under the Convention, the government should not undertake measures which might damage directly or indirectly the national heritage situated on the territory of other states parties to the Convention,” stated Greenpeace Russia. (more…)

In Mongolia, Ensure Local Knowledge Informs Project Design – By Sukhgerel Dugersuren

February 9, 2015 Posted by otwatchweb

Sukhgerel Dugersuren is a development specialist based in Mongolia. She founded OT Watch to monitor the Oyu Tolgoi mine. She is a member of the Global Advocacy Team, an 8-person group convened by the International Accountability Project, to conduct local research on development and make recommendations to improve World Bank policy on development finance. The Global Advocacy Team’s final report from 8 countries will be released in 2015.

In the past decade, Mongolia’s South Gobi Desert has experienced an enormous mining boom. In 2000 we had only a couple of large active mines but today there are dozens of large-scale mines with many more being planned. The World Bank reports that mining has contributed to the fastest ever economic growth rate in Mongolia, but the reality for people living near the mines is very different.

Pollution and other impacts of the mining boom have affected a majority of Mongolians and the people who have suffered the most are nomadic herder communities. Their life-sustaining pastures, water springs, and seasonal camps are being lost to open-pit mines and the road-building, waste-dumping, and water- extraction that comes with this industry. Many communities are taking action to propose changes and find better ways forward.

Consider two recent mining projects, the Oyu Tolgoi mine and the Tayan Nuur iron mine. The Oyu Tolgoi mine is funded by a number of international investors, including the World Bank Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Tayan Nuur iron ore mine has also received financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In February and March 2014, as a member of IAP’s Global Advocacy Team, I formed a research team with members of the local herder communities affected by these two mines. We interviewed 100 people, women and men of all ages and education levels. Most of the people we spoke to have spent their entire lives as nomadic herders until recently.

Resettlement programs have already begun at both mining sites, although many people have been excluded. . . .

. . .

Click here for a full article.

Complaint by Mongolian Herders about Iron Ore Mining Company Accepted by European Development Bank

January 22, 2015 Posted by otwatchweb

Press release

Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
OT Watch & CEE Bankwatch

Complaint by Mongolian Herders about Iron Ore Mining Company Accepted by European Development Bank

Amsterdam/Ulaanbaatar, 21 January 2015

The company Altain Khuder operates the Tayan Nuur mine which allegedly has caused significant environmental pollution and the displacement of herders in the Mongolian Gobi Altai mountains. The independent accountability mechanism of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has invested in the company, accepted the complaint last week.

The complaint, filed by seven individuals on 23 December 2014 at the EBRD’s Project Complaint Mechanism (PCM), alleges that the environmental and social impacts of Altain Khuder’s mine are inconsistent with EBRD’s policies. Herders have brought these impacts to the attention of the company on numerous occasions but rather than solving the problems the company has reacted with intimidation and legal action.

Displacement
While the herders have a nomadic lifestyle and migrate with their livestock and ger (traditional tent), they have customary grazing arrangements and a fixed winter location to which they return to survive the harsh weather conditions. Contrary to the requirements of the EBRD, the mining company has not provided them with suitable alternative resettlement sites. Some herders have received monetary compensation but this has not enabled them to access new land.

“In many places in Mongolia land is held and managed as common property, meaning that resettled herders cannot use the compensation to purchase new land with adequate pasture and a winter camp so crucial to their survival”, explains Sukhgerel Durgenson from the Mongolian NGO OT Watch.

“There are no vacant fertile pastures with adequate water resources. All of the viable pasture is already occupied so there is nowhere else for us to go. Migrating to occupied pastures has negative implications for other herders and livestock already inhabiting the area”, states Amibuh, one of the complainants. “Land areas not in use are of inferior grazing quality, and would result in loss of herds and reduced quality of animal products, which are at the basis of our livelihoods”.

Pollution
Altain Khuder exports the iron ore from the Tayan Nuur mine to China. The gravel roads that are used for the transportation of the ore generate significant environmental pollution. Dust from the road pollutes pastureland and allegedly causes illnesses to herders and their animals. Herders, whose livelihoods depend on their livestock, claim they have lost up to several dozen animals, mainly goats and camels, due to dust-related illnesses. Pollution of air, water and food also creates risks for the health of the herder families.

A paved road is currently being constructed, but herders have not been included in planning of the route and the location of passageways for people and livestock despite the fact that this road cuts through the grazing lands and leads to road safety risks and pasture fragmentation.

Complaint
The herders, supported by OT Watch, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and CEE Bankwatch, request that the Project Complaint Mechanism convenes a dialogue between them and the company to try to resolve issues. The herders request Altain Khuder to fully assess, disclose and adequately address the negative impacts of the mine, including the swift completion of the paved road with adequate overpasses, restoration of degraded and polluted land, and the implementation of a comprehensive livelihood restoration program in consultation with all stakeholders involved. They also request proper compensation for the loss of animals and provision of suitable resettlement locations.

Additionally, the herders request that the Project Complaint Mechanism conducts an investigation into the EBRD’s compliance with its own standards. “The social and environmental standards that are included in its investment strategies make the EBRD distinctly different from mainstream investors”, states Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath from CEE Bankwatch Network. “The fact that problems of the herders have not been solved suggests that either the EBRD’s environmental and social standards are inadequate, or that their implementation is weak”.

The complaint was officially registered on January 15th and will now move on to the next phase. The Project Complaint Mechanism will now consult with all relevant parties in order to determine if it will facilitate a dialogue between the complainants and the company, and if it will conduct an investigation into the EBRD to determine whether the Bank has complied with its owns standards.

“Given the severe negative impacts of the mining project on the herders’ lives we hope the PCM will move swiftly so that their concerns can be adequately addressed and livelihoods restored”, states Anne Schuit from SOMO. “This is also an opportunity for the PCM to show that independent accountability mechanisms of international development finance institutions play an important role in the field of business and human rights and have the ability to provide remedy for people who otherwise are left without justice”.

Downloads

For the complaint, click here.

For a report on a fact finding mission to the Tayan Nuur mining area in Mongolia, please click here.

For a multimedia story, please click here.

For a case study on Altain Khuder and the mining project, please click here.

Lake Tayan Iron Ore Project Trip Report

January 21, 2015 Posted by otwatchweb

A full report by OTWatch about the first fact finding mission on local impacts of the Tayan Nuur iron mine in Gobi Altai.

Available here

When the dust settles: How an iron ore mine threatens nomadic herders’ livelihoods in Mongolia

December 14, 2014 Posted by otwatchweb

A multimedia report by Bankwatch about the local impacts of the Tayan Nuur iron mine in Gobi Altai.

Available here

Imagining the mineral nation: contested nation-building in Mongolia

December 14, 2014 Posted by otwatchweb

By Sara L. Jackson

Nationalities Papers

Link to full text here

Abstract

The development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper–gold mine, located in Mongolia’s South Gobi province, promises to rebuild the nation after two decades of economic and social instabilities following the 1990 revolution. While the company promotes the mine as the teleological solution to Mongolia’s development, the state and public remain ambivalent, as concerns about a resource curse and Dutch Disease loom. In this paper, I argue that Oyu Tolgoi remains contested due to tensions between corporate and state actors as well as public concerns about the potential negative political, economic, and environmental effects of mining. Debates over the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement negotiations and the immediate repercussions of the agreement signing reveal how the dual teleologies of building mineral nations crystallize in the neologism “Mine-golia.” This paper begins to fill a gap in the literature on mineral nations which privileges the role of the state, leaving how corporations engage in nation-building underexamined.

BIC Report on Oyu Tolgoi: Breaking Ground, Breaking Trust

November 20, 2014 Posted by otwatchweb

March 2013

For the full report follow this link Breaking Ground, Breaking Trust

 

The Oyu Tolgoi (OT) copper/gold mine in southern Mongolia is one of the largest copper mines in the world, and is jointly owned by the government of Mongolia and Turquoise Hill Resources (Canada) through the subsidiary company Oyu Tolgoi LLC. Rio Tinto (UK) assumed full management of the mining operations in 2010 after obtaining a majority of shares in Turquoise Hill Resources. As the project is anticipated by many to increase the Mongolian GDP by 30% when operations begin in the first half of 2013, several international financial institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Bank on Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the US Export-Import Bank, and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Australia) have expressed an interest in supporting the project.
The following report is based on a field trip undertaken in Khanbogd, Mongolia by a staff member from the Bank Information Center (BIC) in early December 2012 in order to gain an on-the-ground perspective of the impacts of the Oyu Tolgoi project on the local community. OT Watch, a Mongolian NGO based in Ulaanbaatar dedicated to monitoring the project for compliance with international environmental and human rights standards, provided in-country support for this trip. They helped arrange the activities which fed into this report, including conversations with members of Gobi Soil, a civil society organization in Khanbogd founded by local herders in response to OT; a guided tour around the Oyu Tolgoi mine license area and the Gunii Hooloi pipeline infrastructure corridor; and a consultation between a CAO assessment team and roughly 50 impacted herders. In order to capture the various complaints of the local community, impacts have been organized around six main areas: politics, lack of promised compensation, access to water, herder livelihoods, community health, and access to energy.
The one thing that became abundantly clear during our limited stay in Khanbogd was the deep sense of frustration, anger, and distrust felt by the community towards Oyu Tolgoi LLC. Much of this is related to the great advantage the company has over civil society and the local community based on its relationship to the central government. Some feel that the company is abusing their power by not listening to the needs of the community, and as a result, many of the herders and other residents of Khanbogd are pessimistic of the benefits the mine will supposedly bring when production starts later this year. The purpose of this report is to foster an open dialogue on the most pressing issues facing the herders of Khanbogd today by highlighting these frustrations.

Massive Mongolian mine endangers nomads’ water, way of life

October 12, 2014 Posted by otwatchweb

From: https://beta.cironline.org/reports/massive-mongolian-mine-endangers-nomads-water-way-of-life/

This story was published with GlobalPost.

KHANBOGD, Mongolia – Ichinkhorloo Buya scooped fresh water into the camels’ trough and waited for them to return. The whooshing water always beckoned the animals, with their sharp sense of hearing, home.

But this time, they were nowhere to be found. Her children raced off across the bumpy moonscape of the Gobi Desert on motorbikes in a frantic search. They eventually found the camels huddled around an old rusty well. There was no reason the camels should congregate there.

But they heard something the men didn’t – an underground flow of fresh, cold water.

That sound meant something had gone awfully wrong: The precious underground water that sustains the herders’ fragile existence was flowing down into the brackish aquifer controlled by a booming copper and gold mine that’s rapidly changing daily life in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.

This land of nomads boasts one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, thanks in part to that massive Oyu Tolgoi mine. It alone is expected to account for up to one-third of the country’s gross domestic product and deliver much-needed infrastructure and good jobs.

But as the mine scales up, the operation that’s now led by mining giant Rio Tinto has struggled to live up to its promises of world-class environmental standards. The mine pledged, for example, to leave herders’ scarce water sources untouched.

While company officials say the problems haven’t had a major impact on locals’ water, herders say that since the company built the wells, the land and their own wells have gotten drier.

Brian White, a senior adviser at Oyu Tolgoi, said the company continues to strive to meet or exceed both Mongolian and international standards.

“We have demonstrated progression toward meeting the commitments we have set,” he said in an email.

The mine has put itself directly at odds with a traditional way of life that’s already facing the strains of drought and climate change. Mongolia has warmed more than any other country in the last century, nearly 4 degrees Fahrenheit in 70 years.

Grazing land is disappearing. Wells are drying up. Plants that survived years of drought now are withering. Herds of camels are dying. The changes have altered basic life here, sparking an exodus of traditional herders from the dry, dusty plains to the shantytowns of the capital city, Ulan Bator.

“I would say this is the beginning of a disaster,” said Ravdaudorj Khayandorj, a south Gobi herder near the mine. “Not many people are left. They’re all fleeing to the north.”

About a quarter of the country’s nearly 3 million people live at the edges of the capital in yurts they brought with them from the increasingly uninhabitable countryside. The former herders have no running water or sewage system. But they do have a view. On days when the air isn’t choked with coal smoke, they watch tract housing and office space spring up amid the last generation’s severe Soviet housing blocs. They count the cranes on the horizon. They hope for construction work.


Oyu Tolgoi’s pit mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert is set to expand several times its current size.

Credit: Jargal Byambasuren for CIR

 


Nomads are increasingly abandoning the countryside for a stationary life in yurts at the edges of the capital, Ulan Bator.

Credit: Rachael Bale/CIR

 


Danzanshadov Enkhsaikhan, an activist and chemical engineer, checks one of Oyu Tolgoi’s cascading wells.

Credit: Rachael Bale/CIR

 


An investment firm valued Oyu Tolgoi’s mineral deposits at $300 billion.

Credit: Jargal Byambasuren for CIR

 

Growing demand for copper

Before it was a thriving mine, Oyu Tolgoi was little more than a hill in the vast desert.

Bits of green copper glinted in exposed rock, and the herds of nearly a dozen nomadic families grazed on grass and drank from a natural spring. The families relied on the milk, meat and hair of the camel to scratch out a living.

More than a decade ago, geologists realized the mineral deposits could be worth billions. One investment firm valued them at $300 billion. But to get the metals, a mining company would need massive amounts of water.

Neighboring China’s booming construction industry has fueled the demand for copper, in particular, which is used in everything from electrical wiring to plumbing and telecommunications. It’s also a key component in green energy products like hybrid cars and solar panels.

Water is not easy to come by in the Gobi. With as little as 2 inches of rain a year, an ephemeral river and hand-dug wells, the nomads couldn’t afford to share their water.

The mining company needed to find its own water. For that, it drilled exploration wells hundreds of meters deep.

The company had to build wells carefully to ensure the shallow water, so vital to the herders and already in short supply, would be protected. To get rights to the water it hoped to discover, the company in charge of the mine promised to uphold international environmental policies and first-rate development standards.

For example, in order to get financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the company pledged to abide by the lender’s policies. One of its water standards includes demonstrating that the mine’s water supply wouldn’t have a negative impact on the water upon which locals depend.

In 2003, hydrogeologists made the discovery that made the mine possible – a perfect aquifer named Gunii Hooloi. It was far too deep for locals to access and too salty to be drinkable even if they could.

By 2009, Rio Tinto was about to take control of Oyu Tolgoi. Before it did, though, it needed to sign an investment agreement with the Mongolian government. Facing a $6 billion price tag to build the mine, investors wanted assurances that regulations and taxes would remain stable.

Negotiations, which had been going on for years, were just months away from concluding when word first surfaced of the leaking water in the desert. Oyu Tolgoi made no public statements on the wells. Several nomads said Oyu Tolgoi told them everything was fine. The government and Rio Tinto signed the agreement in October 2009.

Then in 2010, Oyu Tolgoi was preparing for a press event to show off its facilities. A local leader and chemical engineer named Danzanshadov Enkhsaikhan emailed the company. He threatened to bring reporters to hear the water cascading down the well shaft.

The response he got included an internal note, suggesting the company was as concerned about bad press as it was about water supplies.

In a note to staff, Samand Sanjdorj, Oyu Tolgoi’s vice president, proposed plugging the wells with concrete. It wouldn’t stop the cascading completely, but it would curtail the leakage significantly, he wrote.

Plus, “at least no one will hear that some water is leaking down with a noise,” Sanjdorj wrote. “I can imagine that if the press media comes to the bore and hear the cascading noise we will be in very bad situation.”

Improperly built wells

An hour’s drive from the small village that’s the herders’ central meeting place, a rusty tube sticks out of the desert’s sandy dirt. Nearby, a taller rusty pipe with a concrete base keeps watch like a miniature lighthouse.

Every nomad in these parts seems to know how to find these little tubes. Nomads have masterful orientation skills. They use the trajectory of the sun and the mountains in the distance to navigate a landscape with few visible roads and no landmarks other than clumps of brittle brush every few feet.

The tubes became a famous point of interest once word spread that the wells were making noise.

On a scorching hot day in July, Enkhsaikhan knelt down next to the tube. It wasn’t making any noise. But that wasn’t a good sign, he said. It suggested the shallow water the herders rely on was gone.

The tube touches several aquifers at different levels as it descends hundreds of meters into the sandstone and clay.

When companies build exploration wells that touch different water sources, like those outside Oyu Tolgoi, they must be sealed with impermeable material. This ensures water from a shallower source cannot cascade into a deeper one.

The contractor didn’t build those seals at Oyu Tolgoi’s wells. The construction plan shows only gravel where an impermeable barrier should be.

A “technological mistake,” Oyu Tolgoi’s vice president called it.

At least five other wells were cascading, too, a specialist brought in by the government later confirmed. Rio Tinto blames its drilling contractor, RPS Aquaterra, saying the company constructed the wells incorrectly.

But Rio Tinto should have been able to adequately oversee the work of its contractors, said mining expert Paul Robinson of the Southwest Research and Information Center, a New Mexico-based nonprofit focused on natural resource protection.

“What they did completely defeats the purpose of what was committed to and agreed to,” he said. “It is really bad performance.”

Bruce Harvey, a consultant for Rio Tinto, said the water loss is minimal. He compared it to “the width of the hair on your head compared to the size of this room,” during an interview in a mine classroom that would fit about 40 people in desks.

There are no public scientific studies or data that show how much water was lost.

White pointed to a company report that says the cascading does not have a “measurable impact” on the shallow aquifers upon which the herders rely.

Even so, the shallow and deep aquifers now appear to be connected, according to an independent 2013 audit. That can cause the contamination of the freshwater aquifer if the cascade reverses, a problem that’s potentially as serious as water loss.

Herders like Khayandorj said that since the exploration wells went in, plants that had survived years of drought have died.

“Yes, there were two to three years of severe drought,” he said, sitting in his yurt over bowls of salty milk tea. “But right after they set up those wells, families had to move away because of changes in the grass.”

Two wells he once used now are dry. He told Oyu Tolgoi, which has promised to find a new water source for any herder with a dry well. The company has dug several new, deeper wells for other herders. But in his case, the efforts didn’t work.

“They came. They dug with their machinery,” he said. “Nothing. It’s dry.”

Khayandorj and his family spent the entire summer, usually a time of rest for nomads, setting up temporary camp, constantly on the move for sufficient grass and water for their herds.

The nomads have suffered other affronts during Rio Tinto’s mine development. The company replaced a natural spring that was a place of worship with what looks like a man-made drainage ditch. It also dug up sacred elm trees, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Lkhamdoorov Battsengel’s family, along with 10 others, used to live and graze their herds on pastureland of the Turquoise Hill, as the area is known. His family alone had 600 sheep and goats, 100 camels and dozens of horses and cows. When the mining company fenced in its land, it forced the families to relocate.

The land where Battsengel resettled couldn’t sustain his herds. He is down to 100 animals in total.

He’s now started a nonprofit environmental organization called Gobi Soil to influence Oyu Tolgoi’s environmental policies. It has banded with bigger nonprofits to file formal complaints with the International Finance Corporation, which is considering a $1.4 billion financing package to develop the mine further.

“We still have time to turn things back,” he said.

Battsengel now supports his family by collecting trash for Oyu Tolgoi.

Frontline Defenders: World Cup 2014 Campaign – Sukhgerel Dugersuren

June 17, 2014 Posted by otwatchweb

OT Watch executive director, Sukhgerel Dugersuren named a ‘Frontline Defender’

Front Line Defenders launches World Cup campaign in Brazil and Worldwide

See also: http://frontlinedefenders.org/node/26175

 

Representing Australia in our #HumanRightsCup World Cup 2014 campaign is Sukhgerel Dugersuren, a human rights defender (HRD) in Mongolia, who fights for the rights of nomadic herders against foreign mining companies, including companies from Australia.

Sukhgerel Dugersuren is the Executive Director of OT Watch, a Mongolian NGO established to monitor compliance of Rio Tinto with the international environmental and human rights standards. OT Watch monitors compliance of Mongolia’s largest mining project at Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi Desert in collaboration with herder NGOs, environmental activists as well as international and national CSO networks.

After the July 2008 post-election demonstrations and arrests of protesters leading to a declaration of a state of emergency in the country she acted as co-coordinator of “July 1” coalition of CSOs defending the rights of arrested protesters. Research of political and civil tensions of the time pointed to the public and especially rural citizens’ disagreement with the government’s policy to allow extensive foreign investment in the mining sector.

Foreign mining corporations and investors do not recognize the right of nomadic herders to their pastures and water wells. Defending nomadic herders’ rights to natural resources critical for their subsistence is a key focus of her activity.

To show your support for the important work that Sukhgerel Dugersuren carries out in Mongolia, please join us in writing a message of solidarity. Your support is hugely appreciated by human rights defenders, who often work in isolated and dangerous conditions to achieve better rights for others.

You can write a message of solidarity here.

Be sure to share the campaign with your networks and help us make the biggest impact we can. You can follow the campaign on Twitter. Make sure to Tweet with #HumanRightsCup.

– See more at: http://frontlinedefenders.org/node/26175#sthash.BQcjbnsr.dpuf

Representing Australia in our #HumanRightsCup World Cup 2014 campaign is Sukhgerel Dugersuren, a human rights defender (HRD) in Mongolia, who fights for the rights of nomadic herders against foreign mining companies, including companies from Australia. Sukhgerel Dugersuren is the Executive Director of OT Watch, a Mongolian NGO established to monitor compliance of Rio Tinto with the international environmental and human rights standards. OT Watch monitors compliance of Mongolia’s largest mining project at Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi Desert in collaboration with herder NGOs, environmental activists as well as international and national CSO networks. After the July 2008 post-election demonstrations and arrests of protesters leading to a declaration of a state of emergency in the country she acted as co-coordinator of “July 1” coalition of CSOs defending the rights of arrested protesters. Research of political and civil tensions of the time pointed to the public and especially rural citizens’ disagreement with the government’s policy to allow extensive foreign investment in the mining sector. Foreign mining corporations and investors do not recognize the right of nomadic herders to their pastures and water wells. Defending nomadic herders’ rights to natural resources critical for their subsistence is a key focus of her activity. To show your support for the important work that Sukhgerel Dugersuren carries out in Mongolia, please join us in writing a message of solidarity. Your support is hugely appreciated by human rights defenders, who often work in isolated and dangerous conditions to achieve better rights for others. You can write a message of solidarity here. Be sure to share the campaign with your networks and help us make the biggest impact we can. You can follow the campaign on Twitter. Make sure to Tweet with #HumanRightsCup. – See more at: http://frontlinedefenders.org/node/26175#sthash.BQcjbnsr.dpuf

Representing Australia in our #HumanRightsCup World Cup 2014 campaign is Sukhgerel Dugersuren, a human rights defender (HRD) in Mongolia, who fights for the rights of nomadic herders against foreign mining companies, including companies from Australia.

Sukhgerel Dugersuren is the Executive Director of OT Watch, a Mongolian NGO established to monitor compliance of Rio Tinto with the international environmental and human rights standards. OT Watch monitors compliance of Mongolia’s largest mining project at Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi Desert in collaboration with herder NGOs, environmental activists as well as international and national CSO networks.

After the July 2008 post-election demonstrations and arrests of protesters leading to a declaration of a state of emergency in the country she acted as co-coordinator of “July 1” coalition of CSOs defending the rights of arrested protesters. Research of political and civil tensions of the time pointed to the public and especially rural citizens’ disagreement with the government’s policy to allow extensive foreign investment in the mining sector.

Foreign mining corporations and investors do not recognize the right of nomadic herders to their pastures and water wells. Defending nomadic herders’ rights to natural resources critical for their subsistence is a key focus of her activity.

To show your support for the important work that Sukhgerel Dugersuren carries out in Mongolia, please join us in writing a message of solidarity. Your support is hugely appreciated by human rights defenders, who often work in isolated and dangerous conditions to achieve better rights for others.

You can write a message of solidarity here.

Be sure to share the campaign with your networks and help us make the biggest impact we can. You can follow the campaign on Twitter. Make sure to Tweet with #HumanRightsCup.

– See more at: http://frontlinedefenders.org/node/26175#sthash.BQcjbnsr.dpuf

Representing Australia in our #HumanRightsCup World Cup 2014 campaign is Sukhgerel Dugersuren, a human rights defender (HRD) in Mongolia, who fights for the rights of nomadic herders against foreign mining companies, including companies from Australia.

Sukhgerel Dugersuren is the Executive Director of OT Watch, a Mongolian NGO established to monitor compliance of Rio Tinto with the international environmental and human rights standards. OT Watch monitors compliance of Mongolia’s largest mining project at Oyu Tolgoi in the Gobi Desert in collaboration with herder NGOs, environmental activists as well as international and national CSO networks.

After the July 2008 post-election demonstrations and arrests of protesters leading to a declaration of a state of emergency in the country she acted as co-coordinator of “July 1” coalition of CSOs defending the rights of arrested protesters. Research of political and civil tensions of the time pointed to the public and especially rural citizens’ disagreement with the government’s policy to allow extensive foreign investment in the mining sector.

Foreign mining corporations and investors do not recognize the right of nomadic herders to their pastures and water wells. Defending nomadic herders’ rights to natural resources critical for their subsistence is a key focus of her activity.

To show your support for the important work that Sukhgerel Dugersuren carries out in Mongolia, please join us in writing a message of solidarity. Your support is hugely appreciated by human rights defenders, who often work in isolated and dangerous conditions to achieve better rights for others.

You can write a message of solidarity here.

Be sure to share the campaign with your networks and help us make the biggest impact we can. You can follow the campaign on Twitter. Make sure to Tweet with #HumanRightsCup.

– See more at: http://frontlinedefenders.org/node/26175#sthash.BQcjbnsr.dpuf