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Call for human rights assessments of fracking

An article* published in the International Journal of Human Rights calls for human rights impact assessments of fracking proposals.

The article, written by a team from the Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London, is titled Extreme energy, ‘fracking’ and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments.

The article explores the potential human rights impacts of the ‘extreme energy’ process, specifically focussing on the production of shale gas, coal-bed methane and ‘tight oil’, known colloquially as ‘fracking’.

The article locates the discussion within a broader context of resource depletion, the ‘limits to growth’ and the process of extreme energy itself.

Utilising recent secondary data from the United States and Australia, combined with the preliminary findings of our ethnographic fieldwork in the United Kingdom, the article outlines a prima facie case for investigating ‘fracking’ development through a human rights lens.

Based on considerable emerging evidence the authors argue that ‘fracking’ development poses a significant risk to a range of key human rights and should thus form the subject of a multitude of comprehensive, interdisciplinary human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) as a matter of urgency.

Finally, given the close relationships between government and extractive industries, we argue that these impact assessments must do more than bolster corporate responsibility statements and should be truly independent of either government or industry influence.


*Damien Short, Jessica Elliot, Kadin Norder, Edward Lloyd-Davies & Joanna Morley (2015): Extreme energy, ‘fracking’ and human rights: a new field for human rights impact assessments?, The International Journal of Human Rights, DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2015.1019219

Read the article online:

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