Respecting and upholding human rights
AngloGold Ashanti supports the vision of a world where everyone can enjoy their universal rights, and where business plays its part in upholding these rights. We believe we have a responsibility to respect the rights of those who work for the Company as employees, contractors, suppliers, and the communities who live close to, or are affected by, our operations.
The duty to respect and uphold these rights – the fundamental rights and freedoms to lead a dignified life, to freely express independent beliefs and to live free from abuse – touch every discipline, function and aspect of AngloGold Ashanti’s business.
Our human rights commitments are aligned to international human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Labour Organization Standards.
We seek to ensure that our governance structures and processes are human rights-compliant, and that they respect the laws of the countries in which we operate. We recognise that our responsibility to respect human rights applies to all operations and all communities..
Our material human rights issues include:
- Considering environmental impacts including access to clean water
- Avoiding damaging as far as possible, the right to livelihoods, including those historically reliant on artisanal mining
- Operating with respect for human rights in post-conflict and weak governance zones
- Seeking to ensure respect for human rights in the deployment of security forces
- Considering society’s most marginalised individuals and groups
- Embedding the human rights due diligence process across the Company
- Promoting external partnerships
- Respecting the resources, values, traditions and cultures of local and indigenous communities
- Supporting access to land
Our values are underpinned by a respect for human rights. Our approach is primarily informed by the UNGPs on Business and Human Rights, the current leading standard. The UNGP’s framework of Protect, Respect, Remedy places the responsibility of monitoring, upholding and managing our human rights impacts as a business, no matter where we operate.
AngloGold Ashanti’s Human Rights Governance Framework and Human Rights Policy statement are aligned to the UNGPs, as are all our memberships, associations and voluntary commitments. We also have a responsibility, where practically possible, to leverage our position and influence to ensure state actors also protect human rights. This is a responsibility we take seriously, and to this end, we are committed to engaging on the issue with the relevant stakeholders across all our operating jurisdictions.
We align with the ICMM Position Statement on Indigenous Peoples and the IFC’s Performance Standard #7 on Indigenous Peoples. We respect the values, traditions, and cultures of the local and indigenous communities in which we operate. We strive to ensure that we always respect the human rights of indigenous people and uphold the highest levels of respect for their social, economic, and environmental concerns, guided by our Human Rights Framework and Indigenous People Management Standard. The principles of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) are widely used in our dealings with host communities and indigenous peoples, with a strong emphasis on good faith negotiations. Our commitment to indigenous peoples’ rights is also supported by our Cultural Heritage and Sacred Sites Management Standard.
Progress in 2022
In 2022, our focus was to ensure that our human rights commitments are less aspirational and more tangible at site level. This involved working to ensure that our teams, across our portfolio, understand our commitments and the practical actions that are needed to meet them. Group level human rights due diligence verification assessments were conducted at all our operations to gauge progress and identify gaps for further improvement.
We publish an annual Modern Slavery Statement in line with the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018. Our second annual Human Rights Report was published in 2022 as part of an internal awareness campaign to improve understanding of the AngloGold Ashanti Human Rights Framework, and to embed human rights due diligence as an integral part of the Company’s DNA.
Our Human Rights Reports are accompanied by a Human Rights Employee Guide to help ensure that all employees are aware of the role they can play in ensuring we uphold the highest human rights principles across every aspect of our business.
A comprehensive review of all Group policies and standards is also underway, which will subsequently inform a fresh approach to guidance material and training.
Our commitment to human rights extends beyond our employees to how we perceive and uphold communities’ rights in the areas in which we operate. Respecting the rights and customs of all stakeholders is key to respecting human rights in and around our operations. We engage with a broad cross section of community members and leadership, including traditional leaders, local and national government, women’s groups, youth and people with disabilities, civil society, and indigenous communities in and around our operational areas. Our aim is to secure and strengthen our SLO and this cannot be achieved without clearly demonstrating respect for basic human rights.
In 2023, we intend revitalising our Human Rights Working Group, including appointing a human rights champion per operation. We will also refresh our human rights training and awareness initiatives across the Group. As always, we will seek to improve ongoing engagement and strengthen relationships, particularly with our host and indigenous communities.
We have a responsibility, where practically possible, to leverage our position and influence to ensure state actors also protect human rights