In-country working groups (ICWGs) on business, security and human rights are important structures that can monitor the impacts of training of public security and address violations. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the South Kivu Province Working Group on the Voluntary Principles has been monitoring public security conduct at several mining sites, including a concession owned by an international mining corporation. Extractive companies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are obliged to work with the Police Nationale Congolaise, which has established a specialized unit—the Police des Mines et des Hydrocarbures —to enforce the national mining code.
In 2020, the following incidents took place around a specific mine in the area:
- An unarmed community member who trespassed onto the large mining concession was shot in the leg by an officer of the mining police.
- A shepherd trespassing on the concession was stopped and arrested by mining police officers and allegedly tortured under the order of a mining police commander.
- The mining police intervened in protests and marches by local communities against the international corporation’s subsidiary, resulting in multiple arrests of community members, as well as disproportionate use of force against protesters.
With regard to the above incidents, the South Kivu Working Group—led by its Secretariat, l’Observatoire pour la Gouvernance et la Paix—reported the severe human rights violations committed by the mining police and analysed their conduct according to national laws and good practices. The working group’s advocacy led to the removal of the mining police commander. The working group also organised several multi-stakeholder meetings at the local level, discussing the resolution of these issues with the mining company. This underscores the value and effectiveness of in-country working groups and of multi-stakeholder engagement mechanisms more broadly.