NICOLA Sturgeon is facing new calls to cancel her multi-billion pound partnership with a Chinese company after it emerged that it is linked to illegal forced evictions in Africa.

Amnesty International named China Railway Group Ltd (CRG) and subsidiaries it controls in a damning report exposing human rights abuses related to the copper and cobalt mining industry in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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According to the globally respected charity, a community of 300 families was evicted from their homes in 2011 to make way for a mineral processing plant and dumped into "appalling" conditions, in an area with no schools, housing or any other facilities, stripping them of the livelihoods and leaving them living in makeshift tents. The displaced families told the charity's investigators they were each paid only between £70 and £205 in compensation.

The families said they were transported from their homes, after being given just two weeks notice, by trucks owned by The Congo International Mining Corporation (CIMCO), a CRG subsidiary, which was given rights to the site to build the plant.

China Railway No. 3 Engineering Group Co., Ltd, one of two Chinese construction and infrastructure giants to sign a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Scottish Government potentially worth £10 billion, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CRG. It has already emerged that Norway's oil fund ditched its £26m stake in the parent firm after its ethics council warned of an "unacceptable risk that the company is involved in gross corruption".

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Opposition parties repeated their calls for the agreement, which was signed last month and was made public through reports in China, to be torn up immediately following the new revelations and claimed the country's reputation is being "dragged through the mud" as a result of the deal.

The MoU pledges that the parties will support each other with a view to seeing £10 billion invested in Scottish infrastructure including in housing, clean energy and transport projects.

Forced evictions are illegal under international human rights law and Amnesty International concluded that the practices in Congo "breached many of the core provisions" of accepted global standards. It added: "Those evicted were simply taken to a site and left there without adequate housing, access to water or other facilities, rendering them homeless and vulnerable to other human rights violations."

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The charity reported that the CRG subsidiary had refused to respond to its questions, and said the allegation that company trucks were used to take the community from their homes to the bare site "raises serious questions about whether the company provided assistance to State agents to carry out forced evictions."

The report also states that another company, which was established by CRG, one of its subsidiaries and a mining company, used bulldozers and diggers to dig a large trench in 2012 that blocked a rural road, used for decades to fetch water, meaning what was previously a 15 to 20 minute journey took two hours. Attempts by local people to breach the trench led to a 25-year-old farmer being shot in the head by police.

The company, of which CRG is also the controlling shareholder, told Amnesty International that the trench was necessary to keep people off its land and dismissed suggestions from the charity of ways in which it could have made easier for people to access water.

Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: "The last thing that the First Minister did before the election started was sign a £10bn deal with a business directly tied to allegations of corruption.

"The SNP have talked tough on tax avoidance and fair employment but they have rejected my calls to end government grants to companies who avoid tax or fail to pay the national living wage. Worse, they seem happy to get into bed with companies who have been blacklisted by the Norwegian oil fund and criticised by Amnesty International over their human rights record.

"This is not simply about Nicola Sturgeon's gross error of judgement. This SNP deal is dragging Scotland's reputation through the mud. The First Minister must shred this deal."

An SNP spokesman said that the agreement with the Chinese firms had been published and did not involve "agreed projects".

He added: "No investment has been confirmed and no deals have been agreed. The SNP Government would only enter into agreements which met procurement rules and which benefited the Scottish economy."