Poverty—both a cause and a product of human rights violations—is probably the gravest human rights challenge in the world. For decades, Africa—resource-rich but also home to many of the world’s poorest people—has seen state and non-state actors compete for its broad range of natural resources. The existence of oil, gold, diamonds and other natural resources across the continent has generated expectations among local communities that exploitation will help propel them out of poverty. Instead of enjoying new jobs and improving living conditions, however, communities living in and around extractive industry projects often face a host of human rights challenges in violation of national law, international norms, and corporate accountability standards. Widespread corruption and lack of transparency in how funds are generated and spent have helped ensure that any wealth created by natural resource exploitation benefits a select few.
Global Rights’ Natural Resources and Human Rights Initiative, begun in 2008, builds the capacity of civil society organizations working in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Guinea to view these injustices through a human rights lens and to address them by utilizing national and international norms and standards to promote and protect economic and social rights (ESR), such as the rights to participation and information, food, water, health, education, and housing.
We currently partner with seven local civil society groups—three in DRC, one in Guinea, and two in Congo—and are working to increase their knowledge of ESR and strengthen their ability to document violations. We are implementing a series of activities aimed at informing local populations about their rights and devising short- and long-term strategies to defend them. These include:
- Training partners on how to utilize international human rights standards as a means to identify and challenge social and economic injustices affecting communities in resource-rich areas;
- Developing, alongside our partners, research methodologies to document economic and social rights violations associated with the exploitation of diamonds, gold, and oil; and
- Accompanying partners as they conduct research and working with them to produce well-documented reports on ESR violations in target communities.
This essential capacity-building work will result in the development and implementation of action plans and advocacy strategies at the national, regional, or international levels.
Degradation de la Situation des Droits de L'Homme en République de Guinée (2009) Français
*Photo by Maria Koulouris
NEWS & EVENTS
Watch this clip from a Guinean news station that highlights the three day event on natural resource exploitation & human rights hosted by Global Rights and our Guinean partner CECIDE. » (March 2011)
Global Rights Holds Three Day Regional Event on Natural Resource Exploitation and Human Rights »
Check out this news release featuring Global Rights' Maria Koulouris! At AAAS Coalition Meeting, Scientists and Human Rights Practitioners Build Stronger Working Relationships »
Please click here for a list of our current partners.
IMPACT IN THE FIELD
Learn about the work that Global Rights’ partners are doing on the ground with the help of our training and technical assistance »