Bolivia: Natural gas impacts on Guarani indigenous communities’ rights

Photo credit: Fruc Villarroel/CEADESC

In 2010 Centro de Estudios Aplicados a Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (CEADESC) supported and the Council of Captains of Chuquisaca (CCCH) to conduct a human rights impact assessment (HRIA) using the Getting it Right HRIA tool.  The assessment aimed to examine the impacts of a natural gas exploration by Total E&P on the ancestral territory of Muyupampa Guaraní People in the Luis Calvo province, Chuquisaca Department of Bolivia. CEADESC estimated that the project could potentially affect the lives of over 1800 inhabitants of seven indigenous communities. The HRIA report focused on four human rights: free, prior and informed consent, the right to reparations of damages, the right to work and the right to water.

The final report served two purposes: (1) to endorse the demands by the Guarani people regarding threats posed by the expansion of the oil industry on their ancestral territories; and (2) to promote the integration of the findings of the human rights impact assessments into the management and development of investment projects with an emphasis on the rights of affected communities. The final report made several recommendations to Bolivian state institutions, including an emphasis on reviewing the government’s current procedures on free, prior and informed consent. A follow-up assessment team is planning on evaluating whether Total’s policies are aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.  For more information see here.