The UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights are now embedded in the corporate policy frameworks of a number of extractive companies and industry organizations.
ARM, Alliance for Responsible Mining (FairMined Certification) as well as other groups such as the International Council on Mining and Metals encourage a proactive approach to business and human rights and provide guidance on these matters. Mining has the potential to impact on virtually every internationally recognized human right.
Here are some specific examples
- The right to an adequate standard of living: mining activities can restrict or prevent people’s access to the land they use for subsistence livelihoods. Mining induced resettlement, for example, can put livelihoods at risk with food security often an immediate challenge from a human rights perspective.
- The right to drinkable water and sanitation: mining draws from and discharges to rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. There are examples where companies have been the subject of international campaigns and lawsuits related to waste disposal into rivers and the human rights implications for people living downstream from operations.
- The right to security of person: public and private security personnel may interact with local people and civil society groups in protecting a company’s assets and interests. To ensure that companies avoid human rights abuse or complicity in violations by the state, some extractive companies support the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, a framework that’s largely compatible with the UN guiding principles in terms of understanding the operating context and assessing human rights.
- The right to participate in cultural life: mining activities may lead to the destruction of, or loss of access to, significant cultural heritage and places of significance. For example, land clearing may destroy important artifacts or landscapes of cultural significance. This is one area where some companies have introduced policies and procedures to protect or preserve important sites and artifacts and support cultural activities. In some jurisdictions, there are laws that serve to protect indigenous and cultural heritage.
Barksanem™, in a purposeful effort to respect human rights, has incorporated these guidelines not only in our Corporate Statements but in our business model:
- Principles on Security and Human Rights of the United Nations
- OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas
Furthermore, Barksanem™ embraces several international mineral governance policies:
Barksanem™ takes human rights seriously.