This project initially set out to evaluate the human rights policies and practices of the ten largest extractives companies in Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan, in line with recognized rankings like the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark.
However, our researchers soon encountered problems around a lack of information in this region – very few companies in Armenia and Georgia have any publicly available human rights policies, and several lack a website altogether. We created a questionnaire to ask the 30 companies about their commitments and actions related to human rights, health, and the environment. Finding contact information in and of itself was difficult in many cases, and our emails repeatedly bounced back. We removed two Armenian companies from our list (Ler-X and Lichkvaz) over inability to find information, as well as reports the mines these companies operated were effectively defunct.
Only three companies responded to our questionnaire, despite multiple emails, a round of follow-up phone calls, and emails to parent companies.
Given the barriers to creating a traditional human rights benchmark, we gathered information on the human rights performance of these companies from alternative sources, including NGOs, news outlets, and government agencies. This information has been compiled into company profiles, which document the allegations related to each company we researched, as well as each company’s human rights commitments. It is important to note that these profiles only document existing public allegations, rather than making any new claims. Again, information was often difficult to find, with very little public reporting on many of these companies.
Civil society organizations – Crude Accountability, Ecolur, Green Alternative, and Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center – assisted us by providing data they had gathered during their decades of activism related to these extractives projects.
We invited each company to respond to its respective company profile and the allegations therein, in line with the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s Company Response Mechanism. Only three companies responded.