Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian mining companies dominate in human rights abuses in African countries

Dirty deeds: how to stop Australian miners abroad being linked to death and destruction, The Conversation, Julia Dehm
Lecturer, La Trobe UniversityJanuary 23, 2019 
 Australian companies dominate African mining. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade counts 175 ASX-listed companies operating in 35 African countries. Professional services company PwC reckons there are more than 200, and that “a golden age of Australia-Africa relations has begun”.
But Australian miners also arguably stand implicated in both human rights and environmental abuses in pursuit of Africa’s mineral wealth.

The Human Rights Law Centre has documented serious human rights abuses in the overseas operations of a number of prominent Australian companies. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has linked Australian mining operations to deaths, destruction and displacement across Africa. ……….
Despite the Australian government endorsing the UN declaration – along with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which also covers human rights obligations – there is no real legal obligation for Australian companies operating overseas to abide by such principles.
…….In June 2017 the Australian government established an advisory group for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The group quickly recommended developing a national action plan, in line with international standards. But in October the government announced it was “not proceeding with a national action plan at this time”.

We can do better

Other countries are doing more.

France has introduced a “duty of vigilance” law requiring companies ensure their supply chains respect labour and other human rights.

In Switzerland there is a push for a constitutional amendment obliging Swiss companies to incorporate respect for human rights and the environment in all their activities.

Canada is soon to appoint an independent Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity overseas.

It’s increasingly recognised on a purely pragmatic level there are legal, reputational and financial risks if companies attempt to operate without community consent. Studies show the huge financial costs of conflicts with Indigenous communities, which can delay projects significantly.
Australia law makers, therefore, can do both local communities overseas and domestic investors at home a favour by putting in place adequate mechanisms to ensure Australian companies cause no harm overseas.  https://theconversation.com/dirty-deeds-how-to-stop-australian-miners-abroad-being-linked-to-death-and-destruction-109407

January 24, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, uranium

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