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Extractives sector

The extractive industries (e.g. mining, oil & gas, forestry) offer the potential for job creation and economic growth, which are important elements in promoting an environment conducive to the enjoyment of human rights. However, extractive industries projects and activities are also frequently associated with adverse human rights impacts. The extractives sector can have adverse impacts on a broad array of human rights, due to, for example: resettlement of communities without adequate consultation and compensation; environmental degradation; deprivation of livelihood and access to clean water; forced labour; sexual and gender-based violence; and even extrajudicial killings by security forces protecting company assets, with some cases meeting the legal definition of corporate complicity.

The potential impact of the sector depends significantly on how States and companies operate. Importantly, States have a legal obligation to protect human rights in the context of the activities of the extractives sector. They often enter into contracts with foreign investors (so called “state-investor contracts”) for the exploration and extraction of natural resources. These contracts set out the terms of engagement and responsibilities of the respective parties. Given the potential for adverse human rights impacts, it is crucial that human rights considerations are included in the negotiation and content of such contracts (UN Principles For Responsible Contracts).

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References



What National Action Plans say on Extractives sector