British mining company Petra Diamonds has agreed to pay $6m in compensation to dozens of Tanzanians who allegedly suffered serious human rights abuses at a mine famed for producing a flawless pink diamond for one of the Queen’s favourite brooches. The 71 Tanzanian claimants, represented in the London high court by the British law firm Leigh Day, alleged grave violations by the company, among them being shot, beaten, stabbed, assaulted, detained in cramped and filthy holding cells, and handcuffed to hospital beds. The abuses were allegedly carried out by security personnel contracted by Petra’s local subsidiary, Williamson Diamonds Ltd, which has a majority share of the mine, and by Tanzanian police who worked at and around the mine. Ten of the claims were brought by family members of illegal diggers allegedly killed at the mine in Shinyanga, one of Tanzania’s poorest regions. An additional 25 claims are being investigated as part of the settlement, which could increase the total payout.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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