"In Africa non-state actors (NSAs) are causing an alarming concern with the destruction of the environment and indigenous communities in the name of development; such environmental degradation leaves indigenous or economically marginalized groups in an unsatisfactory environment to their health, standard of living and basic necessitites of life and the land for future development. In most instances, the host country does not get good value from the vast amount of resource extraction. In other words, this kind of investment does not benefit the affected people; rather, it transfers a country's resources outside. In the end the poor pays for the lust of the rich. In some cases, African governments are simply not interested in the impact of the activities of NSAs on the people as they personally benefit from their presence due to corruption. As a result, it is correct to note that 'the local partners (African governments)' are selling indigenous communities on for their personal gain. In spite of the fact that some of these African countries have strong environmental laws in operation, they are often unwilling to force NSAs to comply with environmental rights and labour standards since they badly need the investment and capital that NSAs bring into their economies. Some of these NSAs pressurise national governments and even threaten them with lawsuits to open their doors for them. Others completely close down and relocate in order to blackmail the governments to follow through on the permits after exploration had started. Globalisation and an increase in international trade have joined with the growth of the human rights movement. These dual trends have cast an increasing attention on the role that NSAs play in environmental rights violation throughout the Sub-Saharan African region. The criitical issue in this period of globalisation, and which is also a challenge to it, is the liability and social responsibility of NSAs in times of violation of enviornmental rights, since today they figure prominently within the human rights field. Most of their activities are not in accordance with national or international environmental standards. While NSAs enjoy sovereign immunity within local jurisdictions, primary responsibility lies with states, which in most cases, are held liable for wrongful acts committed by NSAs, since they are regarded as the ultimate guardian of the welfare of their populations. As state authority declines, NSAs play a direct and indirect role in a wide range of environmental human rights violations, and this has now led to a point where there is a need to attach more concrete obligations to them. The thesis provides a framework with which th NSAs can be held directly and indirectly accountable for their role in fuelling the instability in the Sub-Saharan African region. The purpose of the thesis is to determine the approaches or guidelines that can be followed in order to ensure that NSAs behave appropriately in host states in realisation of the right to development by preserving the harmonious environment that local communities are entitled to. The creation of a viable and sustainable environment for everyone is of paramount importance in today's society." -- Introduction.
Prepared under the supervision of Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2003.