Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Exploitation in the Postcolony
By Mark Harris
Routledge – 2015 – 224 pages
Series: Law and the Postcolonial
Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Exploitation in the Postcolony: Blood Minerals examines how the legal frameworks of the global economy position the inhabitants of the postcolonial south in a legal and moral position that facilitates economic exploitation, juridical regulation, and dominion over land and resources. The colonial moment witnessed the expropriation of lands through their declaration as terra nullius and the designation of the people inhabiting them as persona nullius. Drawing on several exemplary situations – from Africa (the DRC and Nigeria), Asia (India), the Pacific region (Papua New Guinea and Australia) and South America (Ecuador) – Blood Minerals describes how colonial rule operates in a violent and destructive cycle of mineral extraction. It shows how the populations of the postcolonial global south are stripped of juridical personality and become persona nullius, as the legal-economic frameworks of globalization enact colonial rule by declaring the lands that are to be exploited as void of law. It is the revival of this colonial trope in the so-called postcolony, the book argues, that legitimates the violent dispossession, displacement, and even the obliteration, of its inhabitants.
Chapter One: Introduction: Colonial Modalities; PART I: FRAMEWORKS: Chapter 2: The Tale of Failed States; Chapter 3: Environmental and Legal Degradation; PART II: INSTANTIATIONS: Chapter 4: Places of Justice: privileging the juridical space of the global North; Chapter 5: Complicity or duress? Governments of the global South and their relationship with transnational corporations; PART III: OPERATIONS: Chapter 6: Resurrecting the colonial juridical; Chapter 7: "The poison, leave it in the ground" : the Kupa Piti Kunga Tjuta battle against toxic waste dumping; Chapter 8: Conclusion: The Waste