This is the second report from the Independent Monitor in relation to the Operational Level Grievance Mechanism (“OGM”) at Eastern Produce Malawi (“EPM”), following the settlement of legal claims involving Camellia Plc that were filed in the UK.  Under the current Terms of Reference, the Independent Monitor is to provide a baseline report in August 2022, and a second report by August 2023 on progress of the OGM, along with a public summary of that report.  The Independent Monitor prepared a baseline assessment last year, and has provided its 2023 report to EPM. It also has prepared this public summary.  The Independent Monitor has received excellent cooperation from EPM in conducting this assessment.

            At the outset, we note that the assessment took place during a period of transition for the OGM.  The original OGM had operated under a structure in place since 2020, focusing primarily on claims involving sexual harassment and gender-based violence.  Triple R Alliance (“TRA”) recommended that the original OGM be split into two tiers and expanded to include additional operational grievances beyond sexual harassment and gender-based violence grievances, in a two-tiered structure (named TIKUMVENI).  That approach is being implemented. The updated OGM has a tier (Tier 1) to address operational concerns, and a second tier to consider and address complaints reflecting severe negative human rights impacts (Tier 2). Each has its own dedicated, detailed operations manual. Tier 1 is now functioning. There is a new Grievance Officer to help administer Tier 1, and two additional community facing personnel are being hired. Tier 2 has retained two independent investigators, two additional Independent Senior Lawyers (for a total of 3), a review panel, and others.  As of the date of this assessment, Tier 2’s new personnel are continuing to transition into their current roles.

Follow the link below for the full report;