What is an HRIA? Part 1: Human Rights Impact Assessment of Baffinland's Mary River Project

What is an HRIA? Part 1: Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) of Baffinland's Mary River Project, May 17, 2012 (Download complete PDF at left)
Human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) are tools that allow stakeholders of a proposed business operation and investment to understand the potential positive and negative impacts in terms of human rights. In the context of the Baffinland mine, the main focus will be on the potential impacts on the Inuit of Nunavut and other stakeholders as potential employees of the mine; as project-affected communities; and, as potential suppliers or business associates of the mine. The HRIA will assess the role and responsibilities of government agencies and the company to protect, respect and remedy potential impacts on human rights, as defined by international human rights law and compared with good practices for the extractive industry. The assessment will be undertaken through a participatory process where all stakeholders will be invited to present their views.
HRIAs are a relatively new field of impact assessment. They are the younger sibling of environmental and social impact assessment, but bring value-added through an explicit human rights focus and rights-based approach to the conduct of the assessment.1 For instance, in the 5,000+ pages of the Mary River FEIS, “human rights” are mentioned only 3 times.2 While it is agreed and understood that good-practice environmental and social impact assessments will cover many important human rights issues, they do so implicitly and often without adequate reference to the relevant international standards. There is value in making more explicit the linkages between human rights and the policies, commitments and measures contained in the FEIS—so that all stakeholders are informed of their rights and responsibilities.
As the Baffinland mine is currently in a review process before the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the assessment is forward-looking and will focus on the issues, potential impacts and mitigation measures contained in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as well as the policies and procedures being put in place by Baffinland for the development of the Mary River project. It will focus on both the potential positive impacts (opportunities) and negative impact (risks) on human rights of the proposed mine.
Human rights impact assessments also have important capacity-building potential: through the conduct of a rights-based, transparent and participatory HRIA, stakeholders can learn about their rights and can express their concerns and expectations about a proposed business operation and investment. Furthermore, digital media, video and radio will be used where appropriate in the conduct of the HRIA in order to respect the language, oral tradition and cultural rights of the Inuit.


26 May 2012


Tukisigiarviit: Lloyd Lipsett Human Rights

    • What standards and criteria will the HRIA apply? Part 3: Human Rights Impact Assessment of Baffinland's Mary River Project

      uploaded by: Lloyd Lipsett

      channel: Lloyd Lipsett Human Rights

      What standards and criteria will the HRIA apply? Part 3: Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) of Baffinland's Mary River Project, May 17, 2012 (Download complete PDF at left)
      International human rights law
      The overall normative framework for the HRIA is defined by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This is the most authoritative international policy statement about business human rights, which was unanimously welcomed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. It is built upon the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework that explains that: States have the primary responsibility to protect human rights, including in relation to the activities of business enterprises; companies have a responsibility to respect human rights though a process of on-going due diligence that is appropriate for each business’ operational context; and, a shared responsibility of States and companies to provide access to remedies for corporate abuses of human rights.
      Additional information about the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can be found at: http://www.business-humanrights.org/Documents/UNGuidingPrinciples3
      Furthermore, the HRIA will look at the various international human rights obligations of Canada4 and their implementation in federal and territorial laws and regulations that are relevant to the mining industry, including labour and environmental laws and various government programmes and social protections. In the context of Nunavut, the Nunavut Lands Claim Agreement will be given significant attention as a modern lands claim agreement that has a number of important elements that contribute to the protection of the rights of Inuit.
      Human rights compliance and impact assessment tools
      In assessing whether different duty-bearers (State and company) are meeting their obligations and responsibilities for human rights, the HRIA will use internationally- accepted questions and indicators to guide the assessment. Based on professional experience, the HRIA team will customize a list of the most relevant question of questions and indicators for the Mary River project from the following assessment to tools:
      • Danish Institute for Human Rights Human Rights Compliance Assessment (Quick Check Version) - http://www.humanrightsbusiness.org/files/HRCA%20QC/quick_check_august_2006. pdf
      • Rights & Democracy “Getting it Right: Human Rights Impact Assessment Guide” -
      • International Finance Corporation, “Guide to Human Rights Impact Assessment and Management” - http://www.guidetohriam.org/app/images/documents/Guide%20to%20HRIAM%20bo oklet%20English.pdf
      The questions and indicators, and assessment criteria in these guides, will assist the HRIA team to develop the interview guides and research agenda for the information- gathering stage of the assessment. They will also guide the analysis, findings and recommendations of the HRIA report.
      Good practice policies and guidance for the mining industry
      To assist in making the human rights analysis as relevant and focused on the operational context of the mining industry, additional good practice policies and guidance will also be referenced to compare some of the things that leading companies are doing to address human rights. These include:
      • International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM)’s guidance and policies on business and human rights.5
      • International multi-stakeholder initiatives related to human rights in the extractive industry, including the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights6 and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative.7
      • International policies and standards related to corporate social responsibility and human rights, including the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises and the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards.
      • Canadian policies and standards relevant to the mining sector, including the Mining Association of Canada’s “Towards Sustainable Mining”; the Prospector and Developer’s Association of Canada, “E3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration,” and the Government of Canada’s international CSR strategy, “Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector.”


      uploaded date: 26-05-2012