Speaking on a panel organized during the 2015 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights and entitled “Utilizing the Guiding Principles in the context of extractive industries – benefits and challenges” the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz noted that despite developments in human rights law in relation to indigenous peoples’ rights, the reality around the world was that serious violations of these rights continue unabated.
The Indigenous World Editorial
The Indigenous World Editorial serves to document and report highlights on the developments of Indigenous Peoples globally every year. As part of the Indigenous World publication, the editorial provides an overview of the chapters within.
In some editions, the editorial, as well as the individual chapters, will have a thematic focus to provide a deeper analysis of a particular aspect concerning the situation of Indigenous Peoples. For example, in 2019, the thematic focus was on violence, criminalization, harassment and the lack of justice that Indigenous Peoples face; in 2020, it was on climate and the long-term effects climate change has on the lands, territories, and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples; in 2021, it was on Indigenous Peoples during the Covid-19 pandemic; and in 2022, it was on the contribution and situation of Indigenous women and girls and their rights.
The path towards the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
It was a defining moment when, in the long afternoon spent waiting for the final draft outcome document to be presented, Chief Wilton Littlechild of the Cree Nation and Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples took the floor in Alta and gave words of hope and inspiration to the over 600 delegates and observers gathered at the Indigenous Global Preparatory Conference.
In 2011, indigenous peoples’ right to participate in decision-making processes was high up the national and international indigenous agenda. Special focus was on the states’ duty to consult indigenous peoples in order to seek their free, prior and informed consent when issues that will affect their lives and future are planned.
The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
“Indigenous people will always have a home at the United Nations,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when opening the UN High Plenary meeting on indigenous peoples.
2012 marked 100 years since the publication of Roger Casement’s report testifying to the atrocities being committed against the indigenous population of the Amazon by the British-registered Peruvian Amazon Company.1 This report, together with his equally devastating report on the rubber extraction in the Congo, was the first systematic denouncement on the effects of large extractive economies on the mass extermination of indigenous peoples and local populations.
In 2009, the UN Human Rights Council asked the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) to carry out a study on indigenous peoples and the right to participate in decision-making, to be completed by 2011. The EMRIP submitted a progress report to the Human Rights Council in September 2010. This report shows that indigenous peoples’ participation in decision-making and the right to free, prior and informed consent are at the core of indigenous peoples’ rights and this is strongly reflected in the articles of The Indigenous World 2011.