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Human Rights Standards Applicable to Extractive Industries

Lucas E. Gómez, Ignacio A. Boulin, Victoria C. Ignacio de Casas, International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment (2013)

Extractive activities -especially oil & gas and mining-related activities- may cause a great impact on the exercise of some peoples and communities' basic rights. The extent of their operations, their high investments, the wide range of stakeholders and the cultural differences evidenced between multinational companies and indigenous communities contribute to the generation of conflicts. Therefore, the Americas are currently facing serious conflicts involving companies, States and indigenous peoples due to this kind of activities.

Such conflicts have been analyzed within the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS), through the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACrtHR) with case findings and reports. The criteria developed by them sets forth certain human rights standards that should be observed by extractive companies. This paper is aimed at assessing such standards and making recommendations on how they can be enforced by national governments in their domestic regulations and complied with by private companies.

This paper has been divided into four sections. Firstly, we discuss some of the features of the conflicts arising between extractive companies and indigenous peoples.

Secondly, we develop the concepts of indigenous and tribal peoples and the significance of recognizing their exi