Companies operating in the extractive sector (oil, mining, gas) have a considerable record of alleged violations of human rights, in particular the rights of local communities, including indigenous peoples. As a result, a number of companies have adopted their own CSR policies and/or joined CSR initiatives, such as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Kimberly Process. 1 Some companies in the extractive sector have established company-based grievance mechanisms that affected communities or company employees may turn to. 2 NGOs, communities, and individuals willing to explore such mechanisms should turn to the concerned company to obtain information on the procedures and possible outcomes and assess whether it is worth making use of these mechanisms. Although company-based mechanisms, if designed to ensure meaningful participation from stakeholders in particular communities, may represent interesting mechanisms to monitor and assess the respect for human rights, they are, by their very nature, inherently flawed due to their lack of independence. 3 While these initiatives can potentially contribute to preventing human rights abuses, they cannot provide reparation for victims seeking remedies.
This guide addresses three collective initiatives in the extractive sector which may be of interest:
- The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
- The International Council on Mining and Metals
- The executive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI)