Large dams and human rights obligations: The Pancheshwar multipurpose project
- Large hydropower dams tend to have a set of negative impacts on people and the environment in the areas where they are being built. Yet, they also bring benefits from clean, renewable energy, irrigation opportunities and reduced risk for devastating floods, all of which are foundations for prosperous development and investments for present and future generations.
- Trade-offs between benefits and negative impact are treated as something inevitable. In theory, there is still time to remedy and cure the human rights and fundamental freedoms that are at stake in this case, to avoid future violations and abuse. The HRBA has its limitations, though. For instance, it cannot remedy how interlinked dimensions of poverty—inequality, dignity, and deprivations—influence access to the institutions and advocacy groups that can assist in enforcing the rights of the affected.
“In recent years, hydropower has received renewed attention as a source of reliable and sustainable power supply, however, hydropower dams do not come without environmental and social costs that need to be mitigated.”
“The human rights approach is useful to lay bare the rightful claims of those concerned that the states in question need to consider. It is the way in which projects such as this hydropower dam is conceived, developed, and implemented that is important.”