Extractive Industries, Violence, and Corporate Criminality: Is There a Pathway to Global Justice?

Thursday, December 2, 2021 - 11:00 to 12:30
Zoom Webinar

This was the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights' second Fall 2021 webinar, which took place on Thursday, December 2nd from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EST (UTC-5). You can watch a recording of the webinar on our website here, or on our YouTube channel here.


Toxic Extraction and Corporate Criminality

Anna Zalik

Inspired by the work of critical scholars of corporate crime, as well as broader calls for both reparations to colonized and racialized peoples and abolition of carceral systems, Zalik's presentation considers the contradictory forms in which criminality and violence have been interpreted in the context of extractive industry operations. A number of historical and contemporary global examples will be considered: in the longer term, questions of colonial state control over land and its appropriation from Indigenous peoples; in the medium term, the toxic legacy of oil, gas and other extractive industries - particularly in regions where BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) reside; and in the immediate term, the role of the policing and criminal justice system in disputes between corporations and communities negatively affected by extraction. Substantive solutions will be considered, including those specific to: a) extractive firm governance, including public ownership of energy and industrial infrastructure, an end to firm subsidies and restriction of hydrocarbon production; and b) the criminal justice system - ranging from the development of a substantive transnational system for corporate criminal prosecution to the more categorical change proposed by the prison abolition movement.


Exposing Mines as Sites of Crime Against Women

Catherine Coumans

Coumans’s presentation draws on studies that expose violence experienced by community women and female workers at mine sites, as well as on her own work with victims of rape by police and security at mines in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. She discusses resistance strategies and agency of the women themselves, as well as recommendations emerging out of joint work by victims of violence, researchers, and corporate accountability activists. These recommendations address persistent impunity in regard to corporate criminality, weak responses by governments and international bodies, such as the United Nations, and corporate strategies that deflect policy focus and resources from efforts to establish binding mechanisms in home countries of multinationals to strengthen prevention of harm and create pathways to legal remedy.


Commentary from the Field Perspective

Marta Ruedas

Ruedas will comment on the presentations from the perspective of a practitioner, reflecting on the real-life feasibility of using the ideas and recommendations made by Zalik and Coumans in a recovery or peace-building context. She will use examples from specific crisis contexts to illustrate elements that might need to be taken into account, as well as how government, international community and NGO actors might play into different scenarios.


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