At Ambatovy, we began to implement the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) in 2009. Since then, Ambatovy has taken a series of proactive steps to bring the site into greater conformance with the VPSHR. In 2012 and 2013, Ambatovy conducted third-party rights risk assessments that mapped out human rights– and security-related risks to both our company and our stakeholders. The results of the risk assessments have been used to strengthen existing policies and procedures as well as to develop new systems and programs to prevent and mitigate the identified risks.
Ambatovy has incorporated VPSHR-related requirements into its agreements with both private and public security providers. Such requirements include pre-employment screening and comprehensive training on security and human rights and the use of force.
Ambatovy has partnered with various international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the French Embassy’s gendarmerie, to facilitate training for public and private security providers. Such training has included a five-day seminar on the VPSHR with representatives from Madagascar’s army, gendarmerie, police, judiciary, the National Independent Anti-Corruption Office, the Chiefs of Districts of Toamasina, and Ambatovy’s private security providers.
At the national level, Ambatovy works with other Voluntary Principles Initiative member companies and governments to promote the VPSHR with the Malagasy government. Ambatovy has also hosted a symposium for the diplomatic, international business and security communities on the promotion of and respect for human rights.
In 2016, Ambatovy and other Madagascar-based members of the Voluntary Principles Initiative – such as Rio Tinto and the non-governmental organization Search for Common Ground – participated in an initiative sponsored by the British embassy to promote good governance and human rights in the extractive sector. The six-month initiative was launched with the participation of the British Ambassador, the U.S. Ambassador, and Madagascar’s Minister of Mines. It focused on the implementation of the VPSHR and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and included joint trainings and high-level roundtable discussions.
In November, Ambatovy also signed an umbrella agreement with the regional authorities around its operations and the United Nations System in Madagascar to work together to contribute to the social and economic development priorities of the regions, including the promotion and integration of the company’s commitment to human rights–related principles – such as the VPSHR, among others – in order to effectively analyze and address human rights risks.
For more information on Ambatovy’s efforts, you can find Sherritt’s 2016 annual report to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights online.