n Africa Nazarene University Law Journal - The influence of intergovernmental and multinational initiatives on the preservation of mine-host communities’ culture : a reflection on selected initiatives

Volume 6 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2308-1325


The right to enjoy and participate in cultural life is one of the fundamental human rights recognised at international, regional and sub-regional levels. States are required to respect, protect and fulfil this right, and provide remedies in cases where it is infringed. To achieve this obligation, necessary measures such as legislative measures have to be in place. Such measures are aimed at preserving indigenous peoples’ cultures from potential threats caused by large-scale development projects such as mining, owing to the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources. Under this principle, states enjoy the right to regulate access to and use of natural resources within their borders. Consequently, mining activities which threaten the continued cultural practices and lifestyles of communities within the vicinity of the mining project could be dealt with under such laws. Notably, most developing countries’ legal frameworks do not fully guarantee human rights nor do they effectively regulate mining to avoid violations of these rights. In this paper it is argued that multinational companies and intergovernmental initiatives, despite being voluntary in nature, seem to be the gap-filler to ensure that mine-host communities’ cultural lives are not impacted by the presence of mining projects in countries whose legal framework is below the internationally recognised standard for human rights.

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