What resources have you found to be helpful that you can share with others?

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What resources have you found to be helpful that you can share with others?

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In class, we have read a lot

In class, we have read a lot about the theory of resolving conflicts, and some of what can cause a conflict.  From your experiences, what cannot be taught in text books?  Any secrets or tips for trying to reduce conflicts and working to raise awareness about resource conflicts?  What are tactics towards raising awareness?

Case study on training corporations

Jo Rendler, while working with the First People Worldwide, wrote a tactical notebook with New Tactics on their tactic:

Recipe for Dialogue: Corporate training for building relationships with Indigenous communities

In this notebook, Jo Render describes a corporate training initiative that helps the private sector to build more effective, constructive relationships with Indigenous peoples. The process was developed through a collaboration between the NGO Business for Social Responsibility and First Peoples Worldwide, an Indigenous advocacy organization. The trainings, which are focused on extractive companies (mining, oil, gas and logging) are founded on respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights, aspirations and effective participation in the development process.

I would highly recommend this 15-page case study for anyone interested in learning more about creating incentives for business and corporations to build working relationships with Indigenous communities. 

Do you know of any useful case studies on how Indigenous communities and human rights defenders have transformed conflicts related to resource extraction? Please share these resources here!

Framework for Responsible Mining

When I look at any extractive proposal or project, I try to identify not what is wrong with the project - but what is needed to make the project right -- That is, what is needed to make the project responsible.  Not all proposals or projects can be “made” to be responsible - there may be insurmountable human health, environmental, social, cultural, economic, or other issues.  By identifying what IS responsible there may be better technical and scientific basis to more effectively prevent or engage in mining conflicts.

A resource that may be useful to identify “what is responsible” is the Framework for Responsible Mining (which was written in part by Dave Chambers, who is part of this Dialogue).  It outlines environmental, human rights, and social issues associated with mining and mined products and provides specific recommendations about state of the art practices and recommendations for sectors involved in mining.  A description and links to the Framework and other related resources are available at: http://www.frameworkforresponsiblemining.org/index.html.

histroy in the making

It seems that history has the habit to repeat itself; the same wars are fought for the same reason. Yet with each repeating injustice there is a new good that come out of it. Just look where we are now, universities now offer an entire major around the focus of injustice and how to create justice and become the change you want to see. However there is still a gap between generations, how can we fix this? What has anyone done or found that can bring our generations together?

Also the media and technology are what drive our views of the world; it is both our strength and our weakness. In class (at the University of St. Thomas) we talk about finding truth within sources. We are doing projects about injustice in a place that we want to know more about. My project is on Uganda, the world longest running war. I was introduced to this war through a team called the Invisible Children, they are a great example of how media can help our world see the truths of injustice in our world.

So my question is, what can we do to make the world, listen, talk and act in a effective way that doesn’t hold a bias angle?


Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights re: extractive

I thought it might interest some of you to know of an initiative that seeks to look at human rights and security related to resource extraction.

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) are a multistakeholder initiative, made up of governments, NGOs and companies to support the companies' respect human rights when they seek to protect and secure their people and assets. In implementation, there is ideally involvement of the local communities in the process; to ensure the security provided is protecting the company and the community - not the company from the community. 

The VPs lay out a set of principles that cover how companies do risk assessments, how they engage with public security and how they engage with private security.  The VPs lays out broadly that companies should engage with public security at all levels to discuss training (use of force, rules of engagement, human rights), equipment transfers, etc. 

For example, in Colombia, the VPs were integrated into wider security sector reform which led to the adoption of a human rights and IHL policy that includes doctrine for the public security forces engaging with the corporate sector, following the VPs. In this case, the VPs have been a resource for the government - the private sector playing a small but important role in supporting training and development of policies through an office set up under the Vice President. The Colombian government has been the first "host government" to join the following "home governments" directly in the VPs: US, UK, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.

The NGOs involved in the initiative are Fund for Peace, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, Pax Christi, International Alert, PACT, and Search for Common Ground. Some of these play more of a watchdog role, while the latter 3 and Fund for Peace play more of an implementing role - through civil society networks. Together, we all try to work to ensure the VPs are a credible process, both as an international initiative but also in their on-the-ground implementation, which occurs at both the national and project level.

The VPs website is www.voluntaryprinciples.org


Lschirch, Thank you for


Thank you for providing information about the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights initiatives. I was very impressed by the website and the program. Do you work for them? I have a few questions about the initiative I hope you can help me with. I see they focus on oil/energy companies, being a challanging sector in regard to resource extraction. Are they looking to expand to other sectors? Did VPs work with BP during the oil spill issue? What does VPs do in the event that a company is violating human rights and security? Is it challenging to watch/aid in implementation with companies abroad? If so, how do you overcome this obstacle?

Thank you and I look forward to your response!

Alicia Traut, Justice and Peace Student at University of St. Thomas

reply to Alicia

Hi Alicia - No I don't work for the Voluntary Principles - I just know about them.  I'm not sure about the answers to your questions - but would encourage you to find the answers as they are good questions!

Finding Common Ground resource

I ran across some interesting documents and resources on the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance website. On document in particular is "Finding Common Ground: Indigenous people and their association with the mining sector", IIED, 2003. There are also more resource and information on International Institute for Environment and Development website.

I would recommend especially Chapters 2, 3 and 4 - that highlight the following:

Chapter 2, Mining and Indigenous Peoples: Stakeholder Strategies and Tactics
Theodore E. Downing, Carmen Garcia-Downing, Jerry Moles and Ian McIntosh, pages 11 to 44

This chapter looks at some of the common strategies and tactics that have been used. See Table 1 on page 23

Chapter 3, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, and International Law, Marcos A. Orellana, pages 47 to 61

This chapter outlines the major points on the issue of indigenous peoples and land rights.

Chapter 4, Indigenous Communities and National Laws by Janeth Warden-Fernandez
Pages 63 to 82

This chapter provides an overview of the different legal approaches related to the recognition and affirmation of the existence of indigenous rights in countries and regions with a history of colonization.

Finding Common Ground Resource


Thank you for providing the information regarding the Initiave for Responsible Mining Assurance. It is a great resource. I have found a number of theories and strategies in regard to resource extraction, but I was wondering what do you believe is the best way/theory/strategy to grant indigenous people greater rights?  Or what do you think are the most important initiatives that should be enacted and by who? Do you specific tactics on this issue?

Thank you,

Alicia Traut, Justice and Peace Student at the University of St. Thomas

Documentry: I AM

I recently saw the documentary I AM by director Tom Shadyac, director of Bruce Almighty, Ace Ventura and others. This film is about how he changed his life and now fights and is dedicated to finding justice. This film is a beautiful story that makes you think, cry, laugh, question, and love. It truly it’s a real life view of what we can do to change our world and how to start. I  think this is a wonderful movie that everyone here can really appreciate. I am not connected to this movie in anyway and only promote it for your benefit. It asks and answers the question “what is wrong with the world, and what is right with the world.”  If features some amazing people who have changed the world of social justice, everyone from Howard Zinn to the amazing Desmon Tutu.

So much goes on in our world and this film is a great example of how to get stated, even the proceeds of the ticket sales go to fighting injustice. No profit is made to the director; it all goes to places that need it most.


We talk so much about problems in our world we have to fix which there are, but sometimes we forget about the problems that currently happen right around us. 

This film is a great source just to encourage us to get started!

This was really helpful for me!

Hi all!

When thinking about helpful resources I immediately thought of the organization Global Witness. They operate internationally with the goal of adressing the underlying causes of poverty and other social and political issues with specific attention to environmental exploitation. I've attached a link to their website below. On this website one can access investigative reports on conflicts pertaining to the same themes we've discussed in this dialogue as well as the various campaigns that the organization is involved with across the globe. I found this very helpful in my research of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Another source, The Enough Project, was also very helpful in my research for class. This organization tackles the daunting task of addressing war crimes and genocide. Mineral extraction intwines with these issues in many areas of the world. Their reports and  campaigns are also of great use. While looking into this particular organization I was reminded of the group Save Darfur which has many connections with the Enough Project. I have done several e-mail campaigns with Save Darfur and I was wondering if there were similar efforts in the arena of mineral extraction? Through Save Darfur, I am notified when certian bills are being considered and given the opportunity to send an e-mail to several representatives asking to either give support or withdraw support from specific bills. Is anyone involved in something of this nature related to the topics of our discussion? I would be very interested in where and how to get involved. Thanks!

Rachel Carlson,

Student of the University of St. Thomas



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