23 September 2011
Rapporteur Highlights Abuses of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Due to Extractive Industries
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The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples addressed the UN Human Rights Council, reporting on extractive industries operating within or near indigenous territories.

The report finds that these operations are becoming the greatest challenge to the exercise of indigenous rights, due to loss of lands and natural resources.

20 September 2011: The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, addressed the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council, held from 12-30 September 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland, and presented his report focusing on extractive industries operating within or near indigenous territories.

The report provides a summary of the activities carried out during the Rapporteur’s third year in the mandate, including cooperation with other international and regional mechanisms and bodies in the field of indigenous rights.

The second half of the report is devoted to analyzing the impact of extractive industries operating within or near indigenous territories, following the distribution of a questionnaire on the issue to Governments, indigenous peoples, corporations and civil society. Many of the responses to the questionnaire express concerns about the projects and confirm that they are becoming the greatest challenges to the exercise of the rights of indigenous people. One of the major issues cited by questionnaire respondents was the adverse impact of extractive industry operations on social structures and cultures, particularly when operations result in the loss of lands and natural resources upon which indigenous communities traditionally rely. In such cases, resource extraction can jeopardize the survival of indigenous groups as distinct cultures inextricably connected to their territories.

The Special Rapporteur concludes with the need to continue study of the issue through further consultations, towards operationalizing the rights of indigenous peoples in the context of natural resource extraction affecting indigenous territories, in order to be able to present a specific set of guidelines or principles by 2013. [UN News Release] [Publication: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya: Extractive industries operating within or near indigenous territories]

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