Edited by Surya Deva and David Birchall
Extractive industry operations have been associated with allegations ranging from complicity in egregious violations of international criminal and humanitarian law norms to violations of indigenous and local community environmental rights, as well as sexual violence perpetrated by security forces. Smaller extractive companies active in both the global north and the global south are equally implicated in rights violations, perhaps especially at the exploration stage. Less often considered, but crucially important, is the pressing problem of human rights violations arising from climate change that is a consequence of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions that are the product of the fossil fuels extracted by the oil, gas and coal industries. Extractive companies and their industry associations, as well as home state governments and international organisations, have been actively promoting human rights due diligence (HRDD) tools to prevent and even remedy select rights violations. This chapter examines these tools and their implementation in the extractives sector. The chapter first considers the wide ranging nature of human rights violations associated with extractive industries, drawing upon selected case studies. The chapter then examines the history of the use of risk assessment tools by extractive industries, and the relationship between environmental and social risk assessment and HRDD tools, including human rights impact assessment (HRIA). Finally, the chapter considers the limitations of current practices, including the overly business-centric nature of HRDD, as well as some lacunas in HRDDs with regard to environmental rights, gender equality and climate change.
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