Indigenous water protectors marching

Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations estimates that there are roughly over 370 million indigenous peoples living around the world, from the Arctic to the South Pacific, in over 90 countries. Indigenous Peoples are entitled to all internationally recognized human rights, which includes their individual and collective rights to self-determination and land and resource rights. Free, prior and informed Consent (FPIC) is a mechanism that protects these rights. 

Indigenous peoples are heavily dependent on lands and natural resources for their basic needs and livelihoods and are therefore particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of business activities. In 2016, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples reported on an “alarming number of cases in the mining, oil and gas, hydroelectric and agribusiness sectors whereby foreign investment projects have resulted in serious violations of indigenous peoples’ land, self-governance and cultural rights.”

Where indigenous peoples may be impacted, investors should require companies to "adopt policies and practices to ensure that all aspects of their operations are respectful of the rights of indigenous peoples, in accordance with international standards and not just domestic law, including with regard to requirements of consultation and consent. Companies should conduct due diligence to ensure that their actions will not violate or be complicit in violating indigenous peoples’ rights, identifying and assessing any actual or potential adverse human rights impacts of a resource extraction project" (Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples, 2013).  

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