Voices from Tanzania – The human rights impact of large-scale infrastructure projects: Case studies on Business & Human Rights

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The Voices from Tanzania series supports local field-based studies into business and human rights topics in Tanzania. This third volume presents five cases studies that focus on the human rights impact of large-scale infrastructure projects.

The studies assessed the human rights impact of 3 energy supply projects– the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Manyara region), the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (Kagera region) and rural energy supply projects (Mwanza region) – and 2 projects involving transport infrastructure – the Tanzania Strategic Cities project (Arusha & Dodoma regions) and the Dar es Salaam – Moshi railway (Kilimanjaro region). 

Since taking office in 2005, the late President Magufuli has considered infrastructure development as a key element for achieving Tanzania’s industrialisation and development goals. He declared that “if you want to grow economically, you first invest in infrastructure that will stimulate growth”. As a result, many large-scale infrastructure projects are and have been ongoing in the country, to deliver road infrastructure, upgrade the country’s railway systems and airports, and to increase and diversify the country’s energy supply through natural gas and hydropower facilities, to name but a few.

While infrastructure projects promise positive development, employment and economic growth, the sector’s rapid expansion also raises its potential for adverse impacts on the communities and environments in which projects are implemented or on those involved in the execution of the projects. Large-scale infrastructure projects require urgent attention from a human rights perspective.

Central to the studies presented in this volume are questions of:

(1) human rights due diligence by implementing companies: what are companies doing to respect human rights, to prevent human rights harm and to mitigate negative effects?

(2) community impacts of specific infrastructure projects: what are the actual or potential impacts as experienced by communities, and how do they relate to any prevention/mitigation measures taken by implementing companies?

(3) access to remedy in case of harm: are there mechanisms and procedures in place for people to voice their grievances and get effective redress for negative impacts, in case they occur?

(4) community consultation, participation and awareness: how (much) were communities involved in the design, assessment, implementation and mitigation of infrastructure projects?

Read the full case studies and overall recommendations here:

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“Voices from Tanzania” is a collaboration between Tanzanian civil society organisations, the Tanzanian Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), Business and Human Rights Tanzania (BHRT) and the International Peace Information Service (IPIS).  This publication is part of the ‘Improving monitoring, research and dialogue on Business & Human Rights in Tanzania project implemented by CHRAGG, BHRT and IPIS, with the financial support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.