Extractive companies have had adverse impacts on a broad array of human rights, such as resettlement of communities without adequate consultation and compensation; environmental degradation and its effects on health, sources of livelihood and access to clean water; as well as charges of forced labor, rape and even extrajudicial killings by security forces protecting company assets, with some cases meeting the legal definition of corporate complicity.
- John Ruggie
Natural resources are at the beginning of every supply chain. Their development is essential to the production of energy, consumer goods and food. This means that there are high stakes involved in their use, development and depletion. Natural resources can therefore be a great source of wealth for both governments and local communities, and bring benefits to all citizens. In practice, however, investments in oil, gas, coal, minerals, renewable energy, and large-scale agriculture are often entwined with human rights abuses. This is particularly the case in some of the world’s poorest – but most resource-rich – countries. Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, it is the responsibility of the companies developing these resources, as well as their buyers and investors, to safeguard the human rights of workers and communities affected by their activities.
As Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege explained in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:
We love nice cars, jewellery and gadgets. I have a smartphone myself. These items contain minerals found in our country. Often mined in inhuman conditions by young children, victims of intimidation and sexual violence. When you drive your electric car, when you use your smart phone or admire your jewellery, take a minture to reflect on the human cost of manufacturing these objects. As consumers, let us at least insist that these products are manufactured with respect for human dignity.
Related stories and components
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company pledges to fulfill promises made to communities in diamond-rich areas
Author: Kenneth Nyangani, News Day (Zimbabwe)
‘New ZCDC boss targets unfulfilled community projects’ 19 June 2019...
Zimbabwe: Stakeholders support value addition of diamonds to create more employment opportunities locally
Author: Vimbainashe Zhakata, The Herald (Zimbabwe)
‘Indaba backs value addition’ 13 June 2019...
- Related in-depth areas: Natural Resources
Tanzania: Report alleges pollution, rape, killings & injuries at Acacia's subsidiary; includes company's response & tech. firms' comments
An investigation by the Guardian and its partners in the Forbidden Stories journalism allege that violence on the community sorrounding Acacia's North Mara Gold Mine perpetrators by security agents linked to the company has been going on. It further...
Ethiopia: Oakland Institute report says state projects have left thousands in danger of conflict & starvation; includes govt. official's response
A recent Oakland Institute report claims that Gibe III dam and irrigated sugar plantations are “wreaking havoc” in southern Ethiopia and threaten to wipe out tens of thousands of indigenous peoples. It continues that the government has yet to address...
Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition says mechanism's mandate should include diamond violence and diamond revenue losses
"Kimberley Process must progress reform talks on diamond violence or risk irrelevance and diamond revenue losses"...
Author: Anna Chibamu, New Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)
‘Rural Authorities Demand Mining Transparency Amid Rampant Mineral Exploitation’ 10 June 2019...
Zimbabwe: NGO urges govt. to regulate artisanal diamond mining to avoid killing of artisanal miners by security agents
Author: New Zimbabwe
‘Chiadzwa killings will not deter more invasions, says Maguwu’ 8 June 2019...
- Related in-depth areas: Latest news on natural resources Natural Resources
- Related companies: Marange Resources (part of Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation)
Author: the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), School of Advanced Study, University of London
"The Legal Cultures of the Subsoil", Jun 2019...