One of the most current challenges the Sami are facing is the rapid expansion of extractive industries throughout the Arctic region, creating obvious conflicts between states and Sámi people. European High North has already proven to be rich in mineral deposits. Furthermore, it is suggested that the world’s largest remaining untapped gas reserves and undeveloped oil reserves are located in the Arctic. Therefore, there is a growing pressure to conduct extractive industrial activities on the territories important for the Sámi, for instance on reindeer herding areas and reindeer migration routes. The expansion of extractive industrial developments causes significant challenges to the enjoyment of their human rights, unless effective procedural measures are in place to mitigate adverse impacts. The aim of this paper is to explore the possibility of integrating human rights impact assessment (HRIA) in existing license granting mechanisms, to examine how particular companies comply with human rights norms applicable to local and indigenous, and to scrutinise the possibility of these and other Northern mining companies to carry out HRIA in the future. The integration of HRIA would ensure that the special status and interests of Sámi people is properly taken into consideration when planning and implementing extractive industrial projects.
Field of science