|dc.description.abstract||Brazil and Peru face a rapid expansion of hydroelectric dams and large-scale mining. Although decision-makers claim that the construction of dams leads to better electrification rates and local development, the dams have numerous adverse human rights impacts and large amounts of the energy are being used by the energy-intensive mining industry, which also causes various adverse human rights impacts.
Based on qualitative research into three cases in Brazil and Peru, using semi-structured interviewing and literature review, the research probes and confirms the existence of a minerals-energy complex (MEC), a concept developed to describe the strong interlinkages between the mining and energy sector. The research shows that the hydroelectricity and mining sectors are mutually dependent and historically strongly interlinked with the State. The State depends on the sectors to execute its economic development policies and uses various State powers to rapidly develop the sectors, often at the disadvantage of affected communities and the environment, and contrary to its own legislation. The MEC functions as a system of accumulation: resources and power are being concentrated in the hands of a few actors. Large amounts of tax money and natural resources are being transferred into private hands, and various forms of power are being concentrated and accumulated.
Studying the MEC shows the range of actors involved in and responsible for the advancement of hydroelectric dams, and thus for human rights impacts or risks related to these dams. The MEC is being used to conduct a normative analysis on the division of corporate responsibilities for adverse human rights impacts, based on the recently developed UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The UNGPs proof to be useful to identify responsible actors and required actions. The MEC enables to conduct a holistic analysis of responsible actors for impacts related to the hydroelectric dams.
The research assesses to what extent the UNGPs affect attitudes and actions of affected groups and corporations within the MEC. The research shows that, although the UNGPs are clear about the divisions of responsibilities, their applicability in practice is problematic. Affected groups devote most responsibilities to State actors and have difficulties in holding corporations accountable. Due to the system of accumulation, corporations and State actors can and do combine different forms of power to deny adverse impacts, shirk responsibilities to each other, repress local resistance, or create a discourse wherein the dams foster development.
The research shows that in situations where various powers are being accumulated, human rights risks are high, but at the same time it is problematic to hold corporations accountable. The research stipulates the need for binding (international) measures to hold corporations accountable, especially in cases with large concentrations of power.||