OCTOBER 28, 2017 - Policy Meeting - Resource Extraction and the Human Rights of Women and Girls

Logos Partners - Resource Extraction and the Human Rights of Women and Girls


Policy Meeting

Saturday, October 28, 2017
9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
University of Ottawa
Human Rights Research and Education Centre
Fauteux Hall - FTX570
(57 Louis-Pasteur Private, uOttawa)

By invitation only.
Interested persons should contact Nawroos Shibli at the Centre for International Governance Innovation: nshibli@cigionline.org.

This half day policy meeting on Resource Extraction and the Human Rights of Women and Girls, organized by Sara Seck (Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University), and Penelope Simons (Faculty of Law - Common Law Section, University of Ottawa), 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, and will contribute to the positioning of Canada as a global leader on resource extraction, gender and human rights. It will bring together industry and government representatives, civil society experts, an interdisciplinary group of scholars and students and other members of the public to consider law and policy options and reform based on ideas and questions that emerge from a two-day conference on resource extraction and the rights of women and girls that will be held at the University. Drawing on the conference presentations, discussions and brainstorming sessions, we will consider Canadian and international policy and legal options for the regulation of domestic and transnational mining and oil & gas development to ensure the protection of the rights, and the empowerment, of women and girls. 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 sustainable exploitation of natural resources requires strong governance and regulatory systems that ensure rights respecting benefits for resource-based communities. This is true of mining and oil & gas development both within Canada and internationally. Yet, the global and domestic laws and policies that have developed to govern such activities often do not fulfill this goal. Laws, standards and policies tend to overlook the gendered nature of impacts experienced by members of local communities, as well as gender discrimination within the industries themselves. This is despite the recognition in the international legal system and global institutions of the need to ensure gender equality, empower women and girls, and respect, protect and fulfill human rights. Canada is a major player in the global mining and oil & gas industries. The Federal government is formally committed to ensuring corporate social responsibility and sustainable development in domestic and global mining and oil & gas activities. Canada is also committed to the promotion and protection of women's rights and gender equality, both as a human rights issue and as an essential component of sustainable development, peace and security. Yet, to date, Canada's commitment to responsible global and domestic resource extraction and its policy and legal responses to the governance of extractive companies has assumed that the experiences of men and women are the same.

This failure to acknowledge gender-based discrimination and other impacts on women and girls is also reflected at the international level. While the experiences of women and girls in, and affected by, resource extraction differ depending on the country and contexts, it appears that all natural resource extraction exacerbates existing problems of gender discrimination. Despite the endorsement by states and international institutions of women's and girls' rights under international law, and of the business responsibility to respect human rights, to date most domestic mining, oil & gas laws and international standards providing guidance for extraction companies do not integrate a gender perspective. As a result, there is an ongoing failure to prevent extraction-related violations of the rights of women and girls, a lack of attention to accountability and remedy for past gender-based harms, and a failure to empower women and girls with meaningful choices about their futures.

Please note that the meeting will take place under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are not obliged to speak and there will be no attribution of any participant’s comments in any future report of the meeting. When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed: https://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule#sthash.Df84X0vS.dpuf.

The Centre for International Governance Innovation is a nonpartisan, independent think tank focused on issues of global governance and law, economics and politics, based in Waterloo, Ontario. The International Law Research Program (ILRP) is a ten-year program of international law research and international law capacity building, co-funded by CIGI and the Province of Ontario. The ILRP conducts policy relevant cutting-edge legal research involving academics, public and private sector practitioners, on issues of international economic law, international intellectual property law and innovation, international environmental law and international indigenous law, and intersecting issues of international human rights,
development and security.

The Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa is a research and teaching institution. The Centre was created in 1981 and conducts activities based on a universal system of values that interact and take into account the human rights of individuals and peoples. It has a mandate to approach issues regarding human rights from a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspective, both in order to respect such rights and to explore what they require in a complex and interconnected world. In order to fulfil its mandate, the Centre surrounds itself with partners, researchers and collaborators that are representative of its mandate while ensuring an engaging atmosphere for the students
and researchers who participate in the Centre’s projects and activities.

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