Using your report in advocacy
When your report is complete, you should have concrete evidence on which to base your advocacy. There are many ways you can use your report to bolster your advocacy. You can organize a press conference with community representatives to launch the report. You can send a copy of the report to all relevant government agencies, the company and other actors along the investment chain. If there were violations of national laws, you can use the findings as the basis of a complaint to the courts or to other accountability mechanisms, such as the International Finance Corporation’s Compliance Advisory Ombudsman, the relevant Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development national contact point or the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council. (For a full discussion of these and other accountability mechanisms, please see here.)You can also use the findings to strengthen your position in negotiations with the company and other responsible actors, and as a basis for formulating remedies.
The following sections explain advocacy options in detail, including how your report can be used in these strategies.
Box 11: Case Study
Human Rights Impact assessment of rubber plantations in Ratanakiri, Cambodia: Findings, recommendations and use in advocacy
The human rights impact assessment found that there were serious adverse impacts on a range of human rights. It found that the failure to seek the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples, and the confiscation of their lands and destruction of forest resources, was a violation of their right to self-determination. The report found that this also led to a violation of the right to an adequate standard of living of many affected people and a loss of sovereignty over their food and livelihood systems. The confiscation and destruction of spirit forest and burial grounds violated the right of communities to practice their cultural and spiritual traditions. The destruction of forests and pollution of streams inhibited traditional activities such as resin tapping, hunting and fishing.
The report also found that affected communities were unable to access effective remedies for these violations. Complaints to local authorities and the company were often ignored or met with threats. In some cases, the company provided compensation, but the community thought the amount was inadequate. In many cases, community members primarily wanted their land back. Many affected people did not complain due to fear of retribution and a lack of information.
After setting out these findings and conclusions, the report laid out specific recommendations to the Cambodian government, the company and its investors. The recommendations to each actor corresponded to the nature of their obligations and responsibilities under international human rights law and Cambodian law. For example, the report recommended that the Cambodian government take steps to bring the company’s land concessions and plantations into conformity with national laws, and to ensure a conducive environment for dialogue between the community and the company. The report recommended that the company immediately stop all harmful activities and engage in a good faith-dialogue with affected communities in order to agree on and implement a set of remedial measures.
The human rights impact assessment and recommendations were sent to the company and several of its investors. It was used in a complaint to the International Finance Corporation’s accountability mechanism. In addition, it was used to strengthen the community’s position in a formal dispute resolution process with the company.