Comhlámh are hosting one of their regular #firstweds debates in Dublin tonight, exploring the role of business and human rights in the context of the extractive industry. I am very pleased to take part in this event, which starts at 7pm in the Teacher’s Club on Parnell St. Here is the description from the organisers:.
Last year the current government launched Ireland’s National Plan on Business and Human Rights 2017 – 2020. The Plan seeks to give effect to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights adopted in 2011. Its mission statement is
‘To promote responsible business practices at home and overseas by all Irish business enterprises in line with Ireland’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights globally and to being one of the best countries in the world in which to do business’
The government believes “that the protection of human rights and the promotion of economic growth, trade and investment should be complementary and mutually reinforcing. We can put respect for human rights at the heart of all our business practices”
Yet experience tells us that both here and in the Global South human rights are often impacted by the processes of economic growth and accumulation. Nowhere is this more evident than in the extractive industries. In Ireland, we have seen the repressive use of private security and state police to push through a project for Royal Dutch Shell, whilst more recently campaigners have had greater success in halting a proposed fracking project in Co Leitrim. Currently communities in Northern Ireland are seeking to halt the expansion of goldmining in the Sperrins. And the extent and scale of clashes between human rights and the extraction business is far greater across the Global South. From Peru to Nigeria, the process of colonialism and neo-colonialism are wrapped up in historical and continuing human right abuses.
In this months’ #FirstWeds, our panel will look at these experiences and ask what does it mean for Ireland’s National Plan on Business and Human Rights?
The panelists for tonight’s debate include:
James is the Director with Friends of the Earth, Northern Ireland.
His career started as a local authority planning officer in Scotland, primarily involved in spatial planning and writing development briefs. He was appointed Director Northern Ireland for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Based at Castle Espie he was responsible for developing the education, research and conservation work of the organisation. With an academic background in law and town planning he has lectured extensively, both locally and in Europe and has a particular teaching interest in planning for sustainable development and biodiversity. He was the environmental representative on the Civic Forum and has held many other ministerial appointments.
Shane is a senior lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. He holds a B.A. in Law and Accounting from the University of Limerick and LL.M and Ph.D degrees from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He was a visiting fellow at the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School in 2013 and visiting scholar at the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law at the University of Queensland in 2012. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Business and Human Rights Journal and the Irish Yearbook of International Law and the Editorial Committee of Criminal Law Forum. He is on the National Board of Amnesty International’s Irish Section and also runs the Business and Human Rights in Ireland blog.
Lynda is a writer and rights activist. She currently works for Friends of the Earth, Northern Ireland. Previous to this she spent five years accompanying the indigenous campesino communities of the northern highlands of Peru as they resisted the imposition of a mega mining project that would destroy their water supply and ancestral lands. She also became part of the movement to strengthen and rescue the Andean culture, which is living the alternative to extractive capitalism. She is an active member of the Comhlámh Belfast group which is launch its Digging Deeper resource for use in schools in Northern Ireland. Her Bachelors is in Psychology and her Masters in Development Studies.