Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Shin Imai


This portfolio dissertation studies the activism of the transnational mining justice social movement in Canada and Latin America from the late 1990s to 2019. It focuses on two of the movements most significant human rights projects in that period: Indigenous right to consultation in Latin American (company host states), and the right to remedy in Canada (company home state). Chapter One undertakes an in-depth study of the Peruvian Campesino Community San Andres de Negritos long battle in search of a legal remedy for its dispossession in favor of Yanacocha Mine in the early 1990s. The Communitys turn to the law reveals a disjuncture between the expansion of Indigenous rights recognition at one level, and the absence of appropriate causes of action and procedures for operationalizing these rights on the ground. Widespread experiences of similar injustices and impunity have led to endemic social conflict across the region in opposition to neoliberal resource extraction. Chapter two analyzes a key state response, Indigenous right to consultation legislation enacted in a number of Latin American countries. Drawing insights from the relevant literature, alongside the experience of the Negritos Community, this chapter identifies reforms that could facilitate access to the courts in the face of dispossession. Chapters three and four shift the focus to activism in Canada since the late 1990s, calling for the creation of non-judicial grievance mechanism to address human rights complaints against Canadian resource companies abroad. These chapters document the relevant advocacy strategies and critically analyze activists reform proposals as well as responses from the Canadian state. Chapter five brings both case studies together to identify common patterns in the inadequate state responses to the movements activism over the last 20 years. It argues that these shortcomings are due in part to the persistence of three liberal/neo-liberal ideologies in the reforms in question: formalism, voluntarism and privatism. To help explain these findings, it turns to three theories of human rights activism: pragmatism, left critique/critical legal liberalism and counter-hegemony. Each chapter endeavors to offer insights that may be instructive to those who pursue law reform agendas capable of addressing pressing global environmental and social justice issues.


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