Our rivers are a source of life – and a coveted resource for corporations and governments. While most hydropower companies commit to protecting these ecosystems, there’s a significant gap between policies and performance.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) says that corporations bear direct responsibility for upholding human rights. Dam builders routinely run afoul of even weak national laws and policies, however, facing little accountability for the damage they cause. The cost is borne by those who can least afford it – rural communities, women and fragile ecosystems.
Our Work to hold the Hydropower Industry Accoutable
We work with communities to hold these companies accountable, documenting and exposing human rights abuses, harm and corruption. We advocate for redress, including through the judicial system. We engage with governments and financiers about private sector standards and safeguards. We press for a just energy transition.
Take Action for dam collapse victims
Thousands of people lost their homes when faulty construction led to a devastating dam collapse in southern Laos. Those responsible for construction of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower project must be held accountable.
- Swindling the Mekong: Run-of-River Hydro (2017) (Also available in Thai, Khmer or Vietnamese)
- US Congress Supports Environmental Justice in IFI Projects (2014)
- Activist Guides to Sinohydro’s Environment and Social Policies (2014)
- The World Bank’s Big Dam Legacy
- Greenwashing Dams (2011) (Also available in Português, Español, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Turkish, or Lao)
- Powering Conflict: An Analysis of Business and Human Rights Responsibilities in the Salween Basin (2020)
- Reckless Endangerment: Assessing Responsibility for the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy Dam Collapse (2019)
- Watered Down: How do big hydropower companies adhere to social and environmental policies and best practices? (2019)
- Klamath Dam: PacificCorp must accept responsibility for removing its dams (Shoemaker, 2020)
- Chinese-built dam projects failing on environmental standards, green group International Rivers warns (2019)
- Migratory river fish populations plunge 76% in past 50 years (The Guardian, 2020)
- Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower ProjectBy International Rivers originally published in The People’s Map of Global China Nam Ou River, Lao People’s Democratic Republic The Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower Project comprises seven dams, with…
- International Hydropower Association’s Greenwashing of Nam Theun 2 Dam’s Impacts on Indigenous Peoplesby Bruce Shoemaker and Ian G. Baird A newly released article by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), titled “Laos: Hydropower built in consultation with Indigenous communities” by Eduard Wojczynski, holds…
- PRESS RELEASE | COP26: UN human rights experts highlight continued human rights impacts of dams as civil society, Indigenous leaders call for UN climate financing mechanisms to exclude hydropowerFor Immediate Release: November 9, 2021 For Spanish: https://intlrv.rs/3C4CUOS For Portuguese: https://intlrv.rs/3qoyD6A Glasgow, Scotland – As negotiators convened at COP26 in Glasgow attempt to break the deadlock on emissions cuts…