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 risk assessments that mapped out human rights–related 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. Ambatovy also formalized a memorandum of understanding with Madagascar’s Gendarmerie Nationale, in line with the Voluntary Principles requirements for security arrangements with public security providers during the year. Such requirements include pre-employment screening and comprehensive training on security and human rights and the use of force.
At Ambatovy, the security provider conducts training on human rights, the Voluntary Principles and the use of force prior to sending guards to site. Site security personnel also receive annual refresher training on the Voluntary Principles. In 2018, Ambatovy provided Advanced Criminal Investigation Training to the Gendarmerie to improve investigative skills into security incidents and fraud. The Security Manager, or designate, holds monthly meetings with the Commandant of the Gendarmerie at which the Voluntary Principles are discussed. The site is engaged with the Gendarmerie’s command to discuss awareness raising of use of force procedures with the gendarmes. 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 other civil society organizations to organize three large training sessions a year with representatives of the Gendarmerie, police, civil society and other groups interested in security and human rights issues for 2019.
In 2018, Ambatovy also convened an internal committee made up of employees from Security, Human Resources, Mine Operations, Sustainability and Supply Chain Management for the purpose of managing and enhancing security at the mine site. This group facilitates two-way communication across the division, including contractors. Ambatovy also developed a training program for suppliers and subcontractors on UNICEF’s Children’s Rights and Business Principles, which included creating an action plan for respecting children’s rights. The first round of training was rolled out before the end of 2018 and at time of writing this report, 14 sessions had been completed with approximately 150 employees designated by Ambatovy’s supplier and contractor companies participating in the sessions. They will then share the knowledge and information gained with their colleagues in a cascade manner. The rationale for delivering this training was to ensure participants understood the content of Ambatovy’s management system and policies and that undue risk regarding children can and should be avoided.
Ambatovy’s Security and CSR departments also organized a community soccer tournament with communities neighbouring the mine in order to strengthen company-community relations. Approximately 11,000 people were in attendance. In addition to building strong community relationships, the tournament is an opportunity for Ambatovy to convey key messages around health and wellness, children’s rights, and safety and security.
For more information on Ambatovy’s efforts, you can find Sherritt’s 2018 annual report to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights online.