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)
- International Rivers Brasil joined 42 other orgs calling on the OECD to ensure Brazil can end deforestation & protect human rights as it considers the nation for membership in the OECDToday, October 3rd, a civil society group published and sent a letter to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and relevant government agencies calling for a careful evaluation…
- Civil society organizations call on the VP of the Inter-American Development Bank for more transparency and participation in IDB Access to Information PolicyInternational Rivers joins 23 organizations delivering a letter addressed to Richard Martínez Alvarado, Vice President of theCountries Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) This week, 24 civil society organizations(CSOs) raised concerns about…
- Court dismissal of Xayaburi dam lawsuit highlights the need to strengthen accountability of cross-border investments￼By Phairin Sohsai and Gary Lee On 17 August, the Thai Supreme Administrative Court ruled to dismiss a lawsuit, filed by 37 Thai villagers against five Thai state agencies for…