News | 01-10-2014
Uganda Zambia Mubende Extraterritorial Obligations

Regional workshop explores role of foreign actors in access to natural resources in Africa

Civil society organizations and academics gathered on August 18-19 in a regional workshop in Kampala (Uganda) to discuss States’ extraterritorial obligations in relation to access to natural resources in East Africa and Africa.

Photo credit: Delphine Dorsi from Right to Education Project.

Convened by the ETO Consortium - currently hosted by FIAN International - and the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) of Makerere University in Uganda, the Kampala Workshop brought together participants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia and South Africa.

Objectives of the workshop included to raise awareness about Extraterritorial Obligations of States (ETOs) among civil society and academia in (East) Africa, discuss regional human right violation cases, and come up with strategies for promoting ETOs to realize the protection of human rights in the region, including the right to food.

The workshop first explored the role of diverse foreign actors (including development agencies, transnational corporations, and multi-stakeholder initiatives) in undermining access to natural resources and realization of human rights in the region. Case studies were presented on land grabbing in Uganda and seed privatization in Kenya. Participants then split into working groups to share and analyze cases from the region with an extraterritorial dimension. This exercise not only served to get participants (more) familiar with ETOs and its relevance for their work, but also paved the way for a following strategy discussion. Furthermore, participants discussed suggestions for regional and international strategies for tackling these cases and holding duty bearers accountable.

Several ideas were explored on how to move forward with the promotion of ETOs in the region, including:

  • Participants agreed to form a sub-regional network on ETOs which would reach out to other civil society organizations and academics in the region and would provide space for continued dialogue and joint activities on ETOs;
  • the development of a joint parallel report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
  • a fact finding mission to further investigate and document ETO cases in the region; and,
  • the incorporation of ETOs into human rights curricula of East African universities.

The workshop was concluded with three presentations on chapters of an upcoming book on ETOs in Africa, which looked at the extraterritorial reach of the African Human Rights System, the Mubende case in Uganda, and the application of ETOs concepts to indigenous communities in Africa displaced by climate change.

For more information, please contact Laura Michéle.
Kampala Workshop on ETOs and Access to Natural Resources - Programme673 K