Indigenous position presented to UN Forum on Business and Human Rights


Lola Garcia Alix/IWGIA,

[NB – PIPLinks is a member of ENIP]

Geneva – Despite being most vulnerable to adverse human rights impact of business operations on their land, indigenous peoples are among those facing the greatest obstacles for accessing judicial and non-judicial remedy.

On December 1, CAOI, ENIP and AIPP hosted a panel discussion on Indigenous peoples and access to justice in the context of business operation. The panel was held as a side event as part of the 3rd session of the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, which is presently taking place in Geneva.

The importance of this issue was clearly reflected in the large number of participants who attended the event, exceeding the capacity of the room.

The event was facilitated by Luis Víttor from the Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas (CAOI) and included presentations from the following speakers:

Ms Dalee Sambo Dorough, Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII ), who focused her presentation on the international legal framework for the right to remedy and its application in the context of the rights of indigenous peoples.

Mr Pavel Sulyandziga, Member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights shared an update on the activities of the working group in relation to the implementation of the third pillar of the UN Guiding principles

Mr Thomas Jalong, (Malaysia) and Aurelio Chino (Peru) presented two case studies on the impact of business activities and lack of remedy faced by indigenous peoples in the case of the construction of hydroelectric dams in Sarawak and severe oil pollution in the Peruvian Amazon.

Finally, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, emphasized the importance of this issue in the context of her mandate and the relevance of extraterritorial enforcement of liability and of the relevance of customary remedy mechanisms. She also referred to the need for remedy to be collective and not individual.

In the ensuing discussion, participants presented cases of violations committed by companies, of state inaction, and of the lack of access to justice.

Realizing the access to remedy pillar and guaranteeing effective remedies for violations of indigenous peoples’ rights is a major challenge which necessitates dialogue and cooperation between representatives of indigenous peoples, States and corporations.

These are some of the issues that indigenous representatives, participating in this third annual Forum on Business and Human Rights have been highlighting, and which are reflected in the statement given by the Indigenous Caucus at the plenary on 2 December.

The discussion can be followed on Twitter #BizHumanRights

The final caucus statement can be downloaded here: here.

Date of publication: 
2 December 2014
Indigenous_caucus_submission_03122014.pdf64.19 KB