Improving Tax Strategy Transparency in the Extractive Industries Sector for the Advancement of Human Rights

  • Wasima Khan
Part of the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Rights book series (CHREN, volume 3)


The extractive industries sector is one of the world’s most profit-generating business sectors. Yet, many of the world’s resource-rich countries are developing countries. They depend on their natural resource wealth but systematically fail to translate it into economic stability and growth and an enjoyment of basic human rights—such as access to health, education, and sanitation—for their citizens. Widely cited as the “resource curse” or the “paradox of the plenty”, it is increasingly recognized that this problem may partially be caused by ineffective tax collection systems. If the developing countries involved would find ways to increase their domestic extractive industries revenues by boosting the capacity to collect the taxes owed to them, they could achieve their full economic potential and obtain the public budgets needed to fund the advancement of human rights. In line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework, both state actors and companies have a role to play in considering the adverse impact of tax avoidance on human rights. Next to the obligations of state actors, this chapter focuses on the crucial role of multinational companies in the extractive industries sector, because if these companies decided to refrain from tax avoidance, they could prevent developing countries from being deprived of revenues that can have significant positive human rights impacts. The purpose of this chapter is threefold: (1) to examine the emerging link between taxation and human rights; (2) to highlight the human rights law responsibilities of state actors when tax avoidance in the extractive industries sector poses a threat to the enjoyment of basic human rights in developing countries; and (3) to demonstrate how increased tax strategy transparency has the potential to be a positive incentive for companies, both in and outside the extractive industries sector, to reduce tax avoidance and propel the advancement of human rights.



I am grateful to the conference organisers for the opportunity to address the topic of business, taxation, and human rights in the extractive industries sectors at the young scholars’ workshop, where I received valuable feedback. I thank Prof. Markus Krajewski for his constructive comments and suggestions in a written review of this chapter’s initial draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wasima Khan
    • 1
  1. 1.Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of LawRotterdamThe Netherlands

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