Canada failing to protect human rights activists from mining companies operating overseas: UN watchdog – by Tavia Grant (Globe and Mail – July 2, 2024)

The federal government’s failure to protect human-rights advocates who raise concerns over the activity of Canadian corporations abroad is tarnishing the country’s global reputation, a United Nations official said in an interview.

Mary Lawlor, the UN special rapporteur on human-rights defenders, said Canada should strengthen legislation and bolster oversight of extractive firms operating abroad, some of which she says are causing harms to the environment and human rights advocates. (As a special rapporteur, Ms. Lawlor writes formal letters to governments, and companies, in which she raises concerns about situations where advocates are at risk).

Her office has registered 15 cases, between June, 2019, and March, 2022, of retaliation against human-rights advocates that she alleges can be linked to the activities of Canadian mining abroad. Ms. Lawlor also criticized the federal government for not equipping its watchdog for corporate abuses abroad – the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise – with the powers to investigate companies.

For the rest of this article: