Oral Statement
Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights
Geneva, 24 October 2016
Delivered by: Rodrigo Péret
Thank you Madam Chair,
Franciscans International wishes to bring the perspective of people who work and live with and in communities directly affected by the impact of extractive activities and their supply chain, around the world and can only observe and denounce the various violations and abuses of the whole range of human rights, civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural, linked to these activities.
Social impacts include division of communities; marginalization of poor communities in the decision-making for large-scale extractive projects, escalation of conflicts and violence in impacted areas, criminalization, human rights and environmental defenders, loss of livelihoods and disruption of access to services. There is also the growing disrespect for the free, prior and informed consent from indigenous peoples.
As to the economic impact, it must be stressed that the loss of livelihood is rarely compensated by the economic activity that is generated by the mining industry. Communities affected do not generally see the economic “benefits”, the jobs and opportunities. Populations (and the States hosting these activities) typically do not see much of the revenues and wealth produced through the extraction of natural resources.
Environmental impacts of large extractive projects are well-known, they include the destruction of primary forests and watershed areas that are opened to oil, gas and mining projects, the contamination of rivers and coastal areas by the dumping of wastes and toxic materials, the air pollution of large factories and processing plants that are not regulated and the disastrous accidents of mining projects and other large-scale projects.
In conclusion, inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, we believe that the adoption of a legally-binding treaty will contribute to the protection of the dignity of all and of our common home.
Thank you Madam Chair.