RESOURCE EXTRACTION AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS
Thursday, October 26 to Friday, October 27, 2017
University of Ottawa
Alex Trebek Alumni Hall
(157 Séraphin-Marion, uOttawa)
By invitation only.
Interested persons should contact Annika Weikinnis at aweik048@uOttawa.ca.
The regulation of transnational businesses engaged in resource extraction so as to prevent and remedy human rights violations that they have caused or to which they have contributed has been a topic of much debate and advocacy in recent years. Much of the global public focus has been on the development of soft regulatory mechanisms and policies, while in some jurisdictions, governments have modified laws applicable to mining and oil & gas exploitation to address select human rights issues. However, little attention has been paid to the effects of large-scale mining and oil & gas development on the lives of women and girls. At the global level, despite considerable state endorsement of women's and girls’ rights under international law, and of the responsibility of business actors to respect all human rights, to date most domestic laws and international standards providing guidance for the extractive industry do not integrate a gender analysis.
The relationship between women and girls and resource extraction is complex. Large-scale mining and oil & gas development is highly gendered and deeply masculine. An increasing number of women work within or for extractive industries, whether as executives, employees, lawyers, business partners or as artisanal or small-scale miners. Yet other women from resource extraction-affected communities may be vocally opposed to mining or oil & gas development. Gender-specific extraction-related harms include: gender-based violence perpetrated by security forces or exacerbated by the broader impacts of resource extraction including the influx of male workers; displacement and loss of local subsistence livelihood leading to high risk lifestyles; and contamination of lands, water and wildlife with gender specific health impacts. Under both scenarios – resource extraction-related work and resource extraction-related effects - many women experience discrimination and girls experience a double disadvantage due to gender and age. When armed conflict is fueled by resource extraction, women and girls suffer increased vulnerabilities. Different and increased burdens and challenges confront Indigenous women and girls. While the experiences of women and girls in, and affected by, resource extraction differ depending on the country and extraction contexts, all such ventures risk exacerbating existing problems of gender discrimination and violence.
This conference on “Resource Extraction and the Human Rights of Women and Girls”, organized by Penelope Simons (Faculty of Law - Common Law Section, University of Ottawa), and Sara Seck (Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University), will assemble a group of leading and emerging scholars and civil society experts from around the globe. Participants will share their knowledge and research on this issue and brainstorm about how to integrate a gender perspective into international and domestic laws, policies and standards that govern Canadian and global large-scale resource extraction companies to ensure their practices respect the rights of, and, where possible, empower, women and girls. The conference will lay groundwork for the development of future collaborative research on this subject. It will be followed by a half-day policy meeting on October 28, 2017 government representatives, civil society and industry.
The conference is co-sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the International Law Research Program (ILRP) at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice and the Faculty of Common Law, the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, and the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Territories of Extractivism at the University of Ottawa.