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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations


In many African countries economic cooperation with transnational companies constitutes a source of revenue representing a substantial part of foreign direct investment which, if managed in a viable, sustainable and transparent manner respectful of charter-based rights, can contribute to socio-economic development. However, with the exponential increase of exploration and extraction of natural resources on the continent, there are major risks of the occurrence of human and peoples’ rights violations, including:

  • dispossession of land and displacement of communities;
  • weak or poorly beneficial terms of concession;
  • environmental degradation and poor labour rights protection; and
  • lack of transparency in respect of royalties paid and profits made and avoidance of taxes, leading to illicit financial flows.

Yet, a comprehensive and systematic continental framework for monitoring, reporting on and availing redress for human rights abuses in the extractive industries has not yet been developed. In addition, the role of transnational corporations in human rights abuses and the potential for liability of non-state actors for human and peoples’ rights violations has also not been clarified. For this reason the ACHPR, through Resolution ACHPR/Res.148 (XLVI) 09 adopted at the 46th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 11-25 November 2009, established the WGEI.

Resolution 148 is the main guiding document providing the WGEI’s mandate, but the ACHPR has also tasked it with other independent, but related, functions and focus areas. In this regard, Resolution ACHPR/Res.236 (LIII) 13 on Illicit Capital Flight from Africa, mandates the WGEI to undertake an in-depth study on the impact of illicit capital flight from Africa on human rights, in collaboration with the ACHPR Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa, while Resolution ACHPR/Res.271 (LV) 14 on Climate Change in Africa requests the Working Group to undertake an in-depth study of the impact of climate change on human rights in Africa.

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Press Releases

OVERVIEW OF EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES IN AFRICA

State reported on Article 21 & 24 33
States provides no Data on Article 21 & 24 15
State has not reported on Article 21 & 24 4
State reported on One of Article 21 & 24 1

Intersession Activity Reports

65th Ordinary Session

From October 21 to November 10 , 2019

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

64th Ordinary Session

From April 24 to May 14 , 2019

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

63rd Ordinary Session

From October 24 to November 13 , 2018

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

62nd Ordinary Session

From April 25 to May 09 , 2018

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

61st Ordinary Session

From November 01 to November 15 , 2017

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

60th Ordinary Session

From May 08 to May 22 , 2017

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

59th Ordinary Session

From October 21 to November 04 , 2016

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

58th Ordinary Session

From April 06 to April 20 , 2016

Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso

57th Ordinary Session

From November 04 to November 18 , 2015

Pacifique Manirakiza

56th Ordinary Session

From April 21 to May 07 , 2015

Pacifique Manirakiza

55th Ordinary Session

From April 28 to May 12 , 2014

Pacifique Manirakiza

54th Ordinary Session

From October 22 to November 05 , 2013

Pacifique Manirakiza

53rd Ordinary Session

From April 09 to April 22 , 2013

Pacifique Manirakiza

52nd Ordinary Session

From October 09 to October 22 , 2012

Pacifique Manirakiza

51st Ordinary Session

From April 18 to May 02 , 2012

Pacifique Manirakiza

50th Ordinary Session

From October 24 to November 05 , 2011

Mumba Malila

48th Ordinary Session

From November 10 to November 24 , 2010

Mumba Malila

Adopted Resolutions

Video

FAQ

1. Question: What is extractive Industries?

Answer: For purposes of its State Reporting Guidelines, the WGEI indicated that the term ‘extractive industries’ refers broadly to the operations by private or State actors, usually at a commercial scale, of mining or extraction of natural resources for economic gain. In the narrow sense it refers to oil, gas and other mining industries and the activities involved in these industries. The scope of the term ‘extractive industries’ is accordingly the activities of the companies or enterprises through which non-renewable resources such as oil, metals, coal, stone and gas are obtained from under the ground, however, to the extent that it is applicable, it also includes other exploitation of resources, such as industrial logging and massive agricultural undertakings for the production of biofuel.

 

2. Question: What are the provisions of the African Charter that relate to extractive Industries?

Answer:Article 21 & 24

 

3.Question: What are the areas in which NGOs can collaborate with the WGEI?

Answer:Collaboration is possible in any of the four (4) Strategic Priorities areas:

  • SP 1:Developing a Monitoring & Emergency Response Mechanism. The aim of this priority is for the WGEI to be able to systematically and continuously track developments on the continent, collect information and respond to emerging situations on the continent relating to extractive industries, human rights and the environment.
  • SP 2:Knowledge production & Development of Normative Frameworks/tools. Through this priority the WGEI aims to assess the state of extractive industries and human and peoples’ rights in Africa, clarify the standards relating to rights and obligations in the context of extractive industries and human rights, and improve the working methods and available tools of the ACHPR in all aspects of its work, as regards extractive industries and human rights.
  • SP 3:Visibility & Reconnecting with Wider Stakeholders. The WGEI aims to develop mechanisms of collaboration with various stakeholders so as to: increase the visibility of the WGEI and extend the impact of its work to local actors; increase the WGEI’s access to information on its mandate and expand its knowledge base; as well as to engage with regional and international policy processes relating to the extractive industries so as to contribute to and shape such policy processes.
  • SP 4:Sustainability of the Work and the Activities of the WGEI. This priority area involves developing a coordinated approach to the work of the WGEI and the ACHPR’s response to issues of extractive industries, human rights and the environment; development of the internal rules and procedures for the WGEI; having a clear and coordinated approach to the provision of support for the work of the WGEI; and obtaining sufficient funding to carry out activities and achieve strategic objectives.

 

4. How are members of Working Groups appointed?

 

5. Question: How can the WGEI support State Parties?

Answer:In the preparation of State Report sections on Article 21 and 24, in development of national legislation on Extractive Industries, etc.

 

6. What are the main duties of States in relation to extractive industries?

 

7. What are the main duties of corporations in relation to Extractive industries?

 

8. How can I get information on what my country has done to protect the rights of peoples in relation to extractive industries?

 

9. How can I get on the mailing list of the WGEI?

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