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Civil society groups initiate dialogue to stop human rights abuses in the extractive industry

Source: ACT Alliance - Switzerland - Fri, 20 Jun 2014 13:13 GMT
Author: Estelle Marais
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International civil society groups will bring the voices of human rights defenders working with the most vulnerable communities suffering violations from the extractive industries across the globe to the UN office in Geneva next week.

The two-hour event titled ‘Towards an international legally-binding instrument to end corporate-related abuses of human rights’, which will take place on 24 June at 11:00 – 13:00 in the Palais des nations UN Office in Geneva as a side event to the 26thsession of the UN Human Rights Council, has been co-organised by ACT Alliance, Fastenopfer, Fransiscans International and Misereor.

Bringing examples of on-the-ground human rights infringements in Africa, Asia and Latin America, panellists will share will share their struggles, advocacy work and experiences of working with victims, addressing this issue with local and national authority and dealing corporate representatives.

The event aims to provide a platform for a genuine exchange and dialogue between different stakeholders, to discuss a strategy to better protect human rights in light of increasingly abusive business operations prevalent in the extractive sector.

“In many countries, the issue of addressing human rights concerns by communities, civil society organisations and businesses has for a long time been a source of concern for international communities,” said Gorden Simango, ACT Alliance senior programme officer for southern Africa and development said.

“The conduct of businesses, especially transnational corporations, must be addressed to ensure that abuse of people’s physical integrity, freedom of expression, health, access to water, food and housing, and livelihoods is brought to an end. We hope this side event will be an important milestone towards raising awareness for lobbying for a legally-binding treaty on business and human rights.”

Panellists include Rene Pamplona, advocacy officer of Social Action Center in the Marbel Diocese of the Philippines, who works with communities affected by mining activities, Rodrigo Péret ofm, Coordinator of the Franciscan Action for Ecology (AFES) in Brazil, working on land rights issues, Andrea Torres, a lawyer working on a mining case in La Guajira, Colombia, where open pit mining operations are severely impacting indigenous people and communities, and Sarah Lincoln, who will present cases of extractive industry abuses in Africa.

The event will be moderated by Denise Auclair, senior policy advisor, CIDSE. To attend, contact Gorden Simango, ACT Alliance Gorden.Simango@actalliance.org

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