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As would be expected, Total rebutted the claims. Its first move was to make public the related project social and environmental studies and issue a statement in which it pledged transparency.
The company admits that; “The projects for the development of the oil and gas resources of the Lake Albert region and the cross-border pipeline are situated in a sensitive social and environmental context that requires special measures for the environment and the rights of the local communities.”
In a follow-up statement, the investors maintained that; “All the partners are committed to implementing these projects in an exemplary manner and taking into highest consideration the biodiversity and environmental stakes as well as the local communities’ rights and within the stringent environmental and social performance standards of the International Finance Corporation.”
The Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 was forced to address women’s rights as a human rights issues because of the violence and sexual abuse against women occurring in Yugoslavia at the time.
The Fourth International Women’s Conference was held in Beijing in 1995 made human rights and women’s participation in decision making at all levels key. One of the recommendations was for the countries to have gender desks in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies including Security Services. It cautioned against the specific establishment of Women’s Ministries as these would take gender issues to the periphery as that ministry would be saddled with all matters gender-related.
The conference also discussed the eradication of poverty, women in armed conflict and violence against women.
Zimbabwe chastised the West for averting Harare’s breakdown by denying “access to markets for Zimbabwe’s diamonds sector” and causing “disinvestment, corporate closures, and a currency collapse” in a document titled “Economic Impact of Sanctions on Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwe, which is thought to hold 25% of the world’s diamond reserves, has sunk deeper into international turmoil following revelations that over USUS$14 billion had been taken by oligarchs in the Marange highlands, where the US has expressed concerns about forced labour and human rights abuses.
Security forces mercilessly attacked illegal miners around the end of 2008 to gain sole ownership of the mines for the state, prompting the West to label Harare’s jewels “blood diamonds.”
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