بخشی از مقاله (انگلیسی)
Although the extractive industry has contributed to the socio-economic development of many African countries, it has also led to incidences of human rights violations in many rural communities. However, the use of an evidence-based approach to search, locate, explore and synthesize the literature systematically in order to understand the nature and pattern of human rights violations within the extractive industry remains limited. Consequently, this study employs the systematic review method to determine the nature and drivers of human rights abuses within the extractive industry in Africa. Of the 791 articles retrieved from the search of the databases, 58 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in evidence synthesis. Based on the thematic analysis conducted on the articles that met the inclusion criteria, we find that human rights abuses tend to be associated with the violation of economic, social, and cultural rights, tensions over land ownership, the loss of livelihood, and community marginalization. We conclude the study with some policy implications and suggest avenues for future research.
The relationship between resource extraction and sustainable development in Africa has largely remained contested. Indeed, while the World Bank and African governments/elites are often quick to point out that resource extraction contributes to the economic development of African countries, others have emphasized the negative socio-economic impacts of the extractive industry on the poor and marginalized communities (Akabzaa and Darimani, 2001; 1demudia, 2007; Tuokuu et al., 2018). As primarily an exporter of primary commodities, African governments pursuit of economic development through resource extraction with the adoption of neoliberal economic policies like the structural adjustment programs (SAPs) in the 1980s resulted in the liberalization of codes and laws that also allowed for the influx of foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) into rural communities where resource extraction tends to take place (Campbell, 2003, 2010; Tuokuu et al., 2019). As a result, in contrast to the 1960s that was dominated by African governments' pursuit of nationalization of economic policies, the domain of opposition to MNC activities in the 1990s invariably shifted from host governments to local communities (Harvey, 2006). These contestations over the activities of MNCs in rural communities often resulted in a widespread incidence of corporate-community conflict and associated human rights violations. For example, local protests over incidences of environmental degradation associated with the operation of Shell in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria led to the displacement of the Ogoni people and the violations of their human rights (Obi, 2009). These kinds of incidences resulted in reputational damage, increased social risks, and associated costs for MNCs.
Conclusion and future directions
The aim of this systematic review was to synthesize available evidence in the literature on the drivers and patterns of human rights abuses in the extractive industry as well as identify the common suggestions on how to address these abuses. Our analysis showed that the pattern of abuse is often in terms of the violation of economic, social, and cultural rights and the core drivers of human rights abuses are contestations over land ownership, the associated loss of livelihood, and the marginalization of communities in decision-making. Much of the suggestions on efforts to address human rights abuses in the sector focused on CSR programs, formalization of ASM, and active community engagement. The implication is that the literature on business and human rights within the extractive industry in Africa tend to focus on document incidence of human rights abuses as opposed to analyzing how MNCs seek to address their human rights obligations. Indeed, while the extant works are critical for better understanding of the nature of the human rights problems in the sector, there is a need to move towards examining the effectiveness of the different processes and practices that MNCs are putting in place to address their human rights obligations. This is particularly important given that several MNCs are increasingly signing up to global initiatives such as the UN global compact and the voluntary principles of security and human rights as means to demonstrate their commitments to become corporate human rights defenders. Put differently, future research can usefully examine the extent to which corporate commitment to such global initiatives have necessarily yielded positive human rights dividend for local communities on the ground. There is the need for future research to probe how corporate commitments to global initiatives have yielded human rights outcomes within the extractive industry in Africa. Similarly, a crucial assumption underpins the idea that it is in the best interest of MNCs to respect human rights and rely on the notion that they require social licenses to operate. While the concept of social licenses to operate has been a subject of various critiques (see Owen and Kemp, 2013), we still do not know whether and how poor communities can enforce social license to operate or what other effective alternative corporate accountability strategies that local communities might be deploying to ensure MNCs respect their human rights.