In October, Mongolian herdsmen took a complaint to the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) accountability mechanism, against the Oyu Tolgoi mine being considered for World Bank support (See Update 82). Herders forced to resettle because of the project have experienced extensive herd loss and raised concerns that the compensation being offered does not take into account scarcity of water and high quality pasture. “We do not need gold or money, but water and land to live,” declared L Battsengel, of the herder organisation Gobi Soil.
Jelson Garcia of the US NGO Bank Information Center said, “The herders were denied the right to free, prior and informed consent, a right guaranteed under the IFC’s policies on indigenous people”. “After many unsuccessful attempts to negotiate directly with Rio Tinto to secure just compensation … the herders have turned to the CAO for assistance”. Sukhgerel Dugersuren of Mongolian NGO OT Watch said “Rio Tinto is manipulating herders into signing biased and unfair compensation contracts, telling them that they are the only ones left yet to sign, that they will be left with nothing if they do not accept the terms as is, or even just pressuring them to sign without reading or understanding the contract.”