8. Human Rights and Communities – Summary

Key Message

The Baffinland company will make a number of direct and indirect contributions to the Inuit communities through taxes, royalties, impact benefit payments and voluntary contributions to social programmes. These socio-economic contributions have the potential to make a very important positive contribution to human rights for more than a generation and to have a transformative effect on communities. However, it is very important that there is consultation, planning, coordination and monitoring by all stakeholders to ensure that the money is invested with a long-term strategy. From a human rights perspective, the predictable negative social impacts that mining communities experience should be addressed in a pro-active manner.

In Brief

see more
see less

The Baffinland company will make a number of direct and indirect contributions to the Inuit communities through taxes, royalties, impact benefit payments and voluntary contributions to social programmes.

The Baffinland company will make a number of direct and indirect contributions to the Inuit communities through taxes, royalties, impact benefit payments and voluntary contributions to social programmes. These socio-economic contributions have the potential to make a very important positive contribution to human rights for more than a generation and to have a transformative effect on communities. However, it is very important that there is consultation, planning, coordination and monitoring by all stakeholders to ensure that the money is invested with a long-term strategy. From a human rights perspective, the predictable negative social impacts that mining communities experience should be addressed in a pro-active manner.

The first question is about the taxes, royalties and other payments that Baffinland makes to governments and the Designated Inuit Organizations. The government should spend this money in a way that protect, respects and fulfils human rights. For example, government spending on medical clinics in the communities should enhance the right to health; and, contributions by the DIOs to training programmes should promote the right to education and the right to work. The key to understanding whether taxes, royalties and other payments are having positive impacts on human rights is the transparency of the different revenue flows from the Mary River mine.

One potential issue to monitor is the misalignment between the government departments that receive increased revenues from the mine and those that will have to address the predictable negative social impacts related to mining. For example, the government of Nunavut, the municipality of Iqaluit and the hamlet councils will be on the front-line for rising demands on local infrastructure and services, but will not receive the majority of the economic flows from the mine. Coordination and framework agreements between different levels of government, the DIOs and the communities are important to ensure that there is not a gap in funding to address negative human rights impacts.

The second question is about Baffinland’s direct contributions to communities. Baffinland has already made significant voluntary contributions in communities and it has pledged to make further contributions to local development funding initiatives. These initiatives can have important positive impacts on human rights. For example, providing computers for school children contributes to the right to education and enhances future opportunities for the right to work. Including beneficiaries in the on-going consultation about and monitoring of Baffinland’s voluntary contribution programs can maximize their results in terms of human rights.

Beyond its voluntary contributions, Baffinland must address the negative human rights impacts that are related to the mine’s operations. In the public hearing, the RCMP talked about some problems about crime, violence, alcohol and gambling that other northern mining communities have experienced. These problems can have negative impacts on the right to health and the right to security of the person. Other concerns expressed relate to potential negative impacts on the right to housing, the right to food, and the right to traditional livelihoods and culture. These social issues have many causes, but the responsibility to respect human rights implies that Baffinland should work with communities, governments and other stakeholders to proactively address them. These are the issues that should be prioritized by Baffinland’s development funding initiatives.
 

Your browser does not support playing video. Please update your browser or install Adobe Flash.

Comments on Human Rights and Communities – Summary