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Satellite imagery assessment of forced relocations near the Luiswishi Mine

At the request of Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Programme, the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) investigated reports of forced evictions near the Luiswishi Mine in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Luiswishi cobalt mine is situated 20 km north of Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC. The mine covers an area of approximately 2 km2 and is operated by the Compagnie Minière du Sud Katanga (CMSK). Reports indicated that residents of the village of Kawama were evicted on 24 November 2009, ostensibly to prevent artisanal miners from stealing CMSK minerals.

Satellite images from before and after 24 November 2009 were used to assess reports that a large number of structures were removed from neighborhoods in Kawama. Imagery analysis revealed that, in four of the seven neighborhoods, between 3% and 7% of structures were removed between 31 May 2009 and 15 May 2010. However, large numbers of structures were removed from three neighborhoods, Lukuni Gare (76.4%), Sampasa (69.1%), and Bikwano (39.5%) during the same time period.

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