Closing the International Accountability Gap
As organizations committed to upholding human rights, environmental protection, and fostering equitable and sustainable economic development, we recognize that there are significant challenges associated with resource extraction in developing countries. We call on the Government of Canada to ensure that people harmed by the overseas operations of Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are able to access justice in Canada.
Canada is home to more than half of the world’s mining companies, with active projects in more than 100 countries. Environmental damage and human rights violations, including forced displacement and failure to respect the right of Indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent, violation of women’s rights and violation of children’s rights, have been associated with many of these projects. Those who are harmed often have nowhere to seek effective redress.
Given the existing international accountability gap, we ask the Government of Canada to take the following measures to ensure that those who are negatively affected by these operations can seek remedy in Canada:
- Create a human rights Ombudsperson for the international extractive sector, which is independent, impartial and empowered to investigate (including using gender-based analysis), report publicly and make recommendations to companies and to the government, and
- Facilitate access to Canadian courts for people who have been seriously harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies, especially marginalized groups such as Indigenous peoples and women, who tend to face greater barriers in accessing justice.
Instituting these measures will help ensure that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies live up to international human rights, labour and environmental standards, including those outlined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
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