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 minute 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
Author: JP Casey, Mining Technology (USA)
"Tanzania fines Acacia $2.4m over environmental damage"...
Turkey: Nestle & Ferrero face allegations of labour rights abuses of Syrian refugee hazelnut farmers
On the 28th of April 2019, the New York Times published a report by David Segal investigating the working conditions of Syrian refugees who perform backbreaking labor on the farms that produce 70 percent of the world’s hazelnuts for confectionery...
Zambia: Government to strip Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines of mining license over alleged license breaches
Author: Chris Mfula, Reuters
"Zambia seeks 'divorce' from Vedanta over alleged mining breaches", 20 May 2019....
- Related stories: Pressure groups stage London protest against Vedanta citing concerns over the company's Zambian Konkola Copper Mine operations Zambia: Pollution of Kafue River by Konkola Copper Mines leads to serious water shortage in the region Zambia: Supreme Court rules in favour of claimants in water contamination lawsuit; does not award compensation or order clean-up by Konkola Copper Mines Show moreShow less
- Related in-depth areas: Chinese investment overseas Latest news on natural resources Natural Resources
- Related companies: First Quantum Minerals Glencore Konkola Copper Mines (joint venture Vedanta Resources, Zambia Copper Investments & ZCCM Investments) Vedanta Resources
Zimbabwe: Community oppose Aihua Jianye's mining project due to environmental concerns & fears it may not benefit from project; includes company's comments
Author: Columbus Mavhunga, Voice of America
‘Villagers Resist a Chinese Company's Mining Project’ 9 May 2019...
Laos: Govt. to enforce ban on new banana plantations due to overuse of chemicals reported to cause deaths & illnesses
Author: Sidney Khotpanya & Joshua Lipes, Radio Free Asia
"Lao Government Vows to Enforce Ban on Concessions for New Banana Plantations", 14 May 2019...
Uganda: Public hearings by govt. officials for Tullow Oil & Total oil project not adequate, claims columnist
Author: Doreen Namara, Daily Monitor (Uganda)
"Tilenga EIA certificate won’t conserve the environment and protect livelihoods"...
Ecuador: Natl. Human Rights Institution and trade unions accuse banana plantations of labour abuses including blocking freedom of association
Reports by the Natl. Ombudsman and ASTAC, a banana trade union association in Ecuador alleged labour abuses and obstacles to freedom of association by banana export companies in Ecuador, including a lawsuit against Jorge Acosta, ASTAC president. The...
Diamond Producers Association's report says its members positively impact local communities & working to minimize negative environmental impacts
Author: Cision PR Newswire, Diamond Producers Association (UK)
‘First-Ever Comprehensive Report on the Reality of Modern Diamond Mining Reveals its Impact on Local Communities, Challenges Stereotypes and Identifies Areas for Further Improvement’ 2 May 2019...
Zimbabwe: ZELA decries poor working conditions in mining & agriculture sectors, including child labour
Author: Zimeye (Zimbabwe)
‘ZELA Laments Mining Workers’ Dire Working Conditions’ 3 May 2019...
Colombia: The BioCarbono Fund is launched with the aim of promoting sustainable agriculture in the Colombian Orinoquia
Author: Latin American Post
“Sustainable agriculture: this is how Orinoquia's production will be”, 9th May 2019...