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Valuing Vigilance: Confronting the role of Canadian mining companies in resource colonialism in Guatemala, an analysis of the viability of human rights impact assessments in operationalizing the right of Indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)

McNabb, Chase

This paper calls into question the Canadian government’s complicity in resource colonialism in Guatemala by way of failing to effectively regulate the operations of Canadian mining companies. These companies repeatedly ignore their responsibilities as duty bearers to effectively engage in consultations of good faith with communities in a way that protects, respects and fulfills their right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent as outlined in various international human rights frameworks. In view of this, the principle purpose of this thesis is to assess the potential viability of human-rights impact assessments (HRIAs) in facilitating the operationalization of FPIC processes and safeguarding the human rights entitlements of local Indigenous rights-holders who stand to be affected by a particular mining project, policy or practice. By juxtaposing the strengths and shortcomings of collaborative and community- based HRIAs, this thesis aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the utility and viability of HRIAs as an authoritative human rights due diligence mechanism. This thesis uses a multidisciplinary methodological approach which relied primarily on qualitative research by way of testimonios provided by mining-affected people in predominately Indigenous communities throughout Guatemala. One of the key findings of this research is that community participation and ownership over the HRIA is critical, as involvement of right- holders helps to ensure that human rights analysis throughout the assessment process reflects and is responsive to the demands of Indigenous Peoples, helping to preserve procedural integrity in contrast to other HRIA processes where communities play a less significant role, ultimately leading to more optimal outcomes with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Stamatopoulou, Elsa
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
November 2, 2018
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