US demining company urged to suspend sending Mozambican sappers abroad

The Mozambican authorities have urged the US-based demining company, RONCO, to suspend the contracting of Mozambican sappers to work abroad, in countries such as Afghanistan and Sudan, local media reported Saturday.

According to Mozambican Labor Minister Helena Taipo, the decision was taken after it was found that those Mozambicans were being sub-contracted in those countries, to companies that would not guarantee good working conditions and, worse than all is that all was being done without the consent or knowledge of the Mozambican government.

"Any illegal contracting of Mozambican workforce to another country is a serious violation of the country's Labor Law, and thus to be condemned, even by the International Labor Law," Taipo stressed.

She revealed that RONCO has currently 46 Mozambican sappers on a demining mission in Afghanistan, and another 26 in Sudan.

On whether RONCO will be allowed to continue operating in Mozambique after these irregularities were detected, Taipo said that this is not a reason to expel the company.

In July the Mozambican government accused RONCO of violating the country's ban on compulsory HIV tests.

A press release, issued by the Mozambican Labor Ministry last month, said that in June, the ministry discovered that, when selecting Mozambican sappers to go on a demining mission to Afghanistan, RONCO obliged them to take HIV tests.

The result of the HIV tests was that 19 Mozambican workers were not only banned from going on the Afghanistan mission, but were thrown out of the company altogether.

The Mozambican government described this behavior as a flagrant breach of a Mozambique's 2002 law protecting the rights of HIV-positive workers.

Source: Xinhua

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