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’s contracts with its private security providers include required compliance with the Voluntary Principles. A tender is due for completion in Q1 2018 and Ambatovy commits to incorporating the Voluntary Principles more prominently in the new contract with the private security provider by outlining clear expectations regarding training and screening requirements. Ambatovy will enter a memorandum of understanding with Madagascar’s Gendarmerie nationale, in line with the Voluntary Principles requirements for security arrangements with public security providers. The MOU is due to be signed in early 2018. Such requirements include pre-employment screening and comprehensive training on security and human rights and the use of force.
In 2017, Ambatovy held meetings with various stakeholders to discuss the Voluntary Principles throughout the year. These included the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Search for Common Ground. In its meeting with the ICRC, Ambatovy discussed opportunities to organize Voluntary Principles training for representatives of the Gendarmerie, police, and civil society organizations over the next couple of years. This would include refresher training for gendarmes before their deployment to Ambatovy sites to ensure they have recent training on human rights and the use of force principles. Ambatovy has sponsored a number of third-party training workshops on the Voluntary Principles for public security in the past, and is looking to work with the ICRC to organize two to three large training sessions a year with representatives of the Gendarmerie, police, civil society and other groups interested in security and human rights issues.
At the national level, Ambatovy works with other Voluntary Principles Initiative member companies and governments to promote the VPSHR with the Malagasy government.
In 2016, Ambatovy 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. During the year, Ambatovy held meetings with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Madagascar Defense Minister to communicate its commitment to the Voluntary Principles and discuss plans for Voluntary Principles–related initiatives in 2018.
For more information on Ambatovy’s efforts, you can find Sherritt’s 2017 annual report to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights online.