Human Rights, Not Corporate Wrongs
Privatization and economic globalization have given companies unprecedented access to new territories, and expanded their reach across national borders.
However, regulation of companies, including transnational regulation, to ensure respect for human rights, has failed to keep pace. All companies must be regulated effectively in order to prevent the pursuit of profit at the expense of human rights. To be effective, regulation must provide for appropriate investigation, sanctions and redress for harm.
Allegations of human rights abuse are particularly high in the extractive industry. This is not surprising, given the impact that such operations have on land and water resources. Communities may be forcibly relocated to make way for extractive activities. Traditional livelihoods -- and lives -- can be destroyed or threatened as land is contaminated and water supplies are polluted or overused.
The arrival of well-resourced companies seeking to win over local communities can also lead to increased violence and social conflict, as some people are excluded from the benefits of economic development. This can be exacerbated by the lack of transparency in the way companies award community contracts and payments.
Affected communities are frequently denied access to information about the impact of company operations and excluded from participating in decisions that affect their lives, increasing insecurity and deprivation.
When abuses do occur, the situation is further compounded when communities are denied access to justice, and governments cannot or will not hold companies to account. The consequence is continued abuse, further entrenching the cycle of poverty.