United States of America
Placer Dome (Placer Dome was acquired by Barrick Gold Corp. in 2006) CPP: $351 million (Barrick)
The Cortez gold mine is located in the ancestral territory of the Western Shoshone indigenous people. The Shoshone argue that the mine, which was constructed without their free, prior and informed consent, violates their treaty rights.In 2006, the United Nations called on the U.S. government to immediately cease the transfer of Shoshone land to multinational extractive companies, a practice that the UN argued could cause irreparable harm to indigenous communities.
The 1998 failure of the tailings dam at the Los Frailes mine wreaked widespread environmental havoc.The toxic mine wastes that were released caused a massive fish kill, damaged thousands of acres of farmland, threatened a United Nations World Heritage Site and eliminated 5,000 local jobs.The Government of Spain spent $275 million cleaning up the waste.The company is challenging a high court decision awarding the government $74 million in compensation and damages.
Cambior Inc. EDC: $100(+) million political risk insurance CPP: $14 million
The Aucaner (or N’djuka) Maroon community of Nieuw Koffiekamp is located in the heart of the Gross Rosebel mining concession.Relocated in the 1960s to make way for a hydroelectric dam, Nieuw Koffiekamp now faces a second relocation which, according to a human rights expert, “would be tantamount to [its] cultural and social death.”Maroon authorities were not consulted about the project, and groups within the community vociferously oppose relocation.Suriname lacks legislation that requires mine proponents to undertake environmental impact assessments and is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that does not recognize the rights of indigenous or tribal populations.Critics argue that the country’s draft Mining Act discriminates against these populations and a UN human rights body has called on the Government of Suriname to rectify this problem.
Professor John Ruggie
UN Special Representative to the Secretary General on Business and Human Rights
John F. Kennedy School of Government
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Dear Professor Ruggie
RE: General Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessments
We are sharing with you our collective views on general principles for a human rights impact assessment. These have arisen from a meeting on community-driven human rights impact assessments, convened by Rights & Democracy in Johannesburg, South Africa, 21-24 September, 2006.
Singapore Meetings Emphasize “Civil” over “Society”
On September 19th and 20th, the World’s Finance Ministers will gather in Singapore for the traditional fall meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Although the Bank and IMF will host their own Civil Society Forum, Singapore has banned the traditional outdoor protests that accompany the meetings – providing a designated protest lobby area instead. They have also been tightening border controls and stepping up border security.
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Adopted
On June 29, the Human Rights Council – the new United Nations Human Rights Commission – finally adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, twenty-two years after it was first drafted by the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples.
1.2 billion people are still living in abject poverty as Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to St. Petersburg for the annual Group of 8 (G8) meetings. With new promises on energy and security waiting in the wings, it is timely to reflect on how far the G8 has moved on its pledges since last year’s Gleneagles Summit.
According to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, 2005 was to be “the year for Africa”. The Africa Commission report, the Make Poverty History campaign and the Live 8 concerts focused attention on full debt cancellation, more and better aid, fairer trade and tackling poverty. Progress on these fronts, among others, was to help Africa “make serious inroads into poverty”, and towards achieving the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals.
Prepared by Özgür Can and Sara Seck, for the ECA-Watch, Halifax Initiative Coalition and ESCR-Net
International human rights law has traditionally focused on establishing the obligations owed by states to individuals. Much recent attention has been given to the question of whether non-state actors, such as transnational corporations, can be considered subjects of international law and as such duty bearers of international human rights obligations. However, less attention has been given to the equally significant question of whether financiers of transnational corporate activities have an obligation to ensure that the activities they support comply with international human rights norms. This paper will explore the international human rights obligations of one type of financial institution: officially supported export credit and investment insurance agencies (Export Credit Agencies or ECAs). ECAs are primarily public or publicly mandated institutions that support and subsidise national trade and investment activities, particularly in developing and emerging markets.
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
RE: Canadian NGOs Call on Canada to Demonstrate Leadership at Upcoming Meetings to Push International Community to take Action to Eradicate Poverty
Dear Prime Minister,
As you know this September is a critical month for the World's poor. Two major events, the UN World Summit and the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF, offer the opportunity for the world community and Canada to demonstrate its commitment to eradicate poverty.