Accepted paper:

Environmental damages, transnational corporations and legal responsibility in Peru's mining regions

Authors:

Angela Lindt (University of Bern)

Paper short abstract:

By analysing different mining conflicts in Peru, the paper illustrates the difficulties that exist in holding transnational corporations liable for environmental damages at a local level. The paper compares lawsuits over environmental damages with lawsuits over human rights violations.

Paper long abstract:

Peru is one of those countries that have experienced severe social conflicts in recent years as a result of industrial mining projects involving transnational companies. In many cases, these conflicts have been triggered by the corporations' high consumption of natural resources such as land or water, but more importantly by the contamination of these very resources. Simultaneously to the expansion of social conflicts, there has also been an increase in court cases in which local communities try to hold transnational companies legally responsible for the damages caused by the latter. In many cases, this has led to a juridification of the social conflicts. Based on ethnographic research in Peru, the paper examines different legal possibilities for holding transnational mining companies liable for environmental damages. Aspects of strategic litigation play an equally important role in these lawsuits as networking with international advocacy networks and the search for alternative legal options outside the Peruvian jurisdiction do. The paper compares cases of, for example, water pollution, mercury spills or other environmental damages with cases of corporate-related human rights violations. In doing so, the paper explores the specific difficulties in attributing responsibility for environmental hazards to business actors.

panel P062
Transnational corporations, industrial disasters and environmental hazards. Allocating moral and legal responsibilities across different national contexts [Law Net]