An Appraisal of Procedural Environmental Rights in Tanzania’s Extractive Sector

Authors Elifuraha Laltaika

ISSN: 2521-2613 Affiliations: Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2019, Issue 1, p. 46 – 63


Some laws and policies governing the extraction of minerals, oil and gas in Tanzania offer insufficient protection of substantive human rights. This is partly because the law’s founding objective was not to protect community interests, but rather to expedite foreign direct investment while simultaneously protecting the sanctity of private property as an enabler of respect for transnational contractual obligations. Specifically, the laws in question are emblematic of the broader ‘neo-liberal law and development thought’, characterised by the primacy of the market in human relations. Yet extractive operations put resources on which local communities depend, such as drinking water, forests and biodiversity, at risk. This article investigates whether, by using procedural environmental rights, aggrieved communities and individuals in the country can successfully challenge potentially human rights-abridging and environmental protection-blind decisions through available avenues in the country’s justice system. One of the article’s key points is that by becoming one of the first African countries, and so far the only one in East Africa, to subscribe to extractive industries’ transparency initiative (EITI), and by enacting a law to operationalise EITI principles, Tanzania exhibits unwavering commitment to bringing new dynamics to the extractive sector. However, by disallowing environmental considerations and community consultation requirements from forming part of the conditions for granting resource extraction licence, participation is reduced to a mere technical enterprise or ‘box-checking’.