In early November last year I spent a week in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire – a delightful city, impressing me with its Western-style malls popping up in many neighborhoods, not to mention functioning toll plazas and traffic lights, and pet grooming services galore. I was there on mission for GIZ, running a workshop for mostly NGO and a few government participants to do a training and participatory risk and impact assessment on the human rights impacts of industrial mining in Côte d’Ivoire. With less than a handful of active industrial projects in the country, this is a new issue and it was the first workshop in the country specifically addressing the sector’s intersection with human rights.
Thanks to excellent co-facilitators from the National Human Rights Commission of Côte d’Ivoire (CNDHCI), Action pour la Protection des Droits de l’Homme (APDH), Ligue Ivoirienne des Droits de l’Homme (LIDHO) and the Agence Nationale de l’Environnement (ANDE), our training covered topics ranging from the legal and regulatory framework, the life cycle of an industrial mine, land and housing rights, a healthy environment, rights of women and minorities, and access to remedy.
I also showed a video recently released by New Media Advocacy Project (N-Map) illustrating how a community in Upper West region of Ghana self-organized to counter companies’ usual divide-and-rule approach, especially by mapping their lands and resources. For the risk and impact assessment, we used a bespoke methodology I developed, borrowing from and building on existing tools, most especially the Getting It Right Human Rights Impact Assessment Guide from the now defunct organization, Rights & Democracy, as well as the Human Rights Due Diligence methodology under development by the Coalition for Human Rights in Development.