Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations
MANDATE OF THE WGEI
- Examine the impact of extractive industries in Africa within the context of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
- Research the specific issues pertaining to the right of all peoples to freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources and to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development;
- Undertake research on the violations of human and peoples’ rights by non-state actors in Africa;
- Request, gather, receive and exchange information and materials from all relevant sources, including Governments, communities and organizations, on violation of human and peoples’ right s by non-state actors in Africa;
- To inform the African Commission on the possible liability of non-state actors for human and peoples’ rights violations under its protective mandate;
- Formulate recommendations and proposals on appropriate measures and activities for the prevention and reparation of violations of human and peoples’ rights by extractive industries in Africa;
- Collaborate with interested donor institutions and NGOS, to raise funds for the Working Group’s activities;
- Prepare a comprehensive report to be presented to the African Commission.
Within the framework of ACHPR Resolution 148, which establishes the WGEI, its overall objective is to strengthen the regional responses to issues of human rights in the extractive industries in Africa, within the framework of the work of the ACHPR.
Within this broad context, the specific goals of the Working Group are grouped around four Strategic Priorities (SP):
- SP 1:Developing a Monitoring & Emergency Response Mechanism. The aim of this priority is for the WGEI to be able to systematically and continuously track developments on the continent, collect information and respond to emerging situations on the continent relating to extractive industries, human rights and the environment.
- SP 2:Knowledge production & Development of Normative Frameworks/tools. Through this priority the WGEI aims to assess the state of extractive industries and human and peoples’ rights in Africa, clarify the standards relating to rights and obligations in the context of extractive industries and human rights, and improve the working methods and available tools of the ACHPR in all aspects of its work, as regards extractive industries and human rights.
- SP 3:Visibility & Reconnecting with Wider Stakeholders. The WGEI aims to develop mechanisms of collaboration with various stakeholders so as to: increase the visibility of the WGEI and extend the impact of its work to local actors; increase the WGEI’s access to information on its mandate and expand its knowledge base; as well as to engage with regional and international policy processes relating to the extractive industries so as to contribute to and shape such policy processes.
- SP 4:Sustainability of the Work and the Activities of the WGEI. This priority area involves developing a coordinated approach to the work of the WGEI and the ACHPR’s response to issues of extractive industries, human rights and the environment; development of the internal rules and procedures for the WGEI; having a clear and coordinated approach to the provision of support for the work of the WGEI; and obtaining sufficient funding to carry out activities and achieve strategic objectives.
ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN BY THE WGEI
- Regional Consultations on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations:
- Southern African consultation (August 2014, Johannesburg, South Africa);
- East African consultation (January 2015, Nairobi, Kenya);
- Central African Consultation (July 2015, Lubumbashi, DRC);
- Informal and Study Missions
- Undertook an informal mission to Marikana, South Africa following the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine which led to the deaths of approximately 44 people and attended a public hearing of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry (May 2013);
- Promotion Mission to Uganda (August 2013);
- Research and Information Mission to the Republic of Zambia (13 to 17 January 2014);
- Promotion Mission to Swaziland (7-11 March 2016);
Norm development and elaboration
- Elaboration of a Strategy Framework and Work Plan for the years 2016 –2019;
- The Commission adopted ACHPR/Res. 367 (LX) 2017 Resolution on the Niamey Declaration on Ensuring the Upholding of the African Charter in the Extractive Industries Sector, during the 60th Ordinary Session in Niamey, Niger;
- Adoption of the State Reporting Guidelines during the 62nd Ordinary Session in Nouakchott, Mauritania;
- Panel discussion on “Extractives industries, environment and human rights in Africa: cases from Cameroon, Liberia and Kenya” (April 2013, in Banjul, The Gambia);
- Various meetings and workshops with State Representatives, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), civil society actors and international organisations, as well as UN Working Groups and Experts.
- The WGEI is in the process of finalising the Background Study on Extractive Industries, the Environment and Human Rights in Africa, which was mandated to the WGEI under Resolution 148, for consideration and adoption by the Commission.
- The Study on Illicit Financial Flows, mandated to the WGEI together with the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights under the Commission’s Resolution 236, is currently undergoing final review before presentation to the Commission.
- The WGEI is involved in the process of establishing a Common African Position on the United Nations (UN) process towards a Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with respect to Human Rights.
- The WGEI is in the process of developing a tool for monitoring, tracking and responding to human rights violations in extractive industries.