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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Amazon Watch: Free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples

New Report Highlights Why Companies Need to Operate with Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples
By Amazon Watch
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3, 2011 -- Industrial resource extraction is posing grave threats to the survival of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin and there are serious moral, legal and financial reasons for corporations to stem the tide of abuse and respect indigenous peoples' rights, Amazon Watch said in a briefing paper released today.

The paper, entitled The Right to Decide: The Importance of Respecting Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), makes the case that respecting indigenous peoples' rights is not just a moral imperative, but also a business necessity for corporations to avoid financial risk, reputational damage, divestment campaigns, operational delays due to social unrest, multi-billion dollar legal liabilities, and loss of license to operate.

In the wake of recent U.S. endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and as the historic multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Chevron for massive environmental contamination in Ecuador is set for a ruling, Amazon Watch is urging large-scale institutional investors and socially responsible investors to closely monitor corporate behavior in indigenous territory and demand that corporations only operate where they have the free, prior and informed consent of any indigenous peoples potentially affected by operations.

"As resource extraction increasingly moves into socially and environmentally fragile areas of the world, like the Amazon rainforest, companies must take affirmative steps to avoid violating indigenous peoples' rights," stated Gregor MacLennan, Peru Program Coordinator of Amazon Watch. "This report demonstrates that from both a human rights and a business perspective, companies should only operate with the free, prior and informed consent of any affected indigenous peoples."

While states traditionally bear responsibility to protect human rights, companies have an independent responsibility to respect them. To avoid complicity in human rights abuses and related legal, financial and reputational harms, companies need policies and due diligence to ensure operations do not violate indigenous rights.

FPIC is an internationally recognized norm, designed to ensure respect for indigenous peoples' right to self-determination, the right to decide their own future. The paper defines FPIC as "consent that is given freely, by people fully informed of the consequences, prior to any decision being made, and according to their own decision-making processes."

To download report:

The emporers, the diplomats, have no clothes

Clinton to US Ambassadors: Get DNA, fingerprints and iris scans on world leaders
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Wikileaks has laid bare the inner workings of the minds of US Ambassadors.
The cables, whether bearing facts or merely the fancies of diplomats, will have one impact on the future diplomatic negotiations of the world.
The US Ambassadors will no longer be trusted, if they ever were.
Now, every world leader will know, and probably already did, that US Ambassadors scribble down everything they say, injecting the US Ambassador's own agenda into each report, and sends it off to Washington.
There is one fact that will be Wikileaks' trademark on world relations: The State Department asked US Ambassadors to engage in espionage.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US Ambassadors to get DNA, fingerprints and iris scans on world leaders.
Iris scans?
Clinton wrote, "Data should include email addresses, telephone and fax numbers, fingerprints, facial images, DNA, and iris scans."
The April 16, 2009, cable was for "reporting and collection needs: African Great Lakes," for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. Similar cables were written for other parts of the world.
Along with ethnicity (tribe and clan) and religious information, Clinton asked for "compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet 'handles,' internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules."
Clinton's cable to Paraguay inquired about "rifts" and "internal factions" of politicians. The "reporting and collection" needs again included iris scans and DNA.
Clinton asked US diplomats in Paraguay for: "Biographic and financial information on all leading contenders, and especially on Minister of Education Blanca Ovelar, former Vice President Castiglioni, Lino Oviedo, and Fernando Lugo; and biometric data, to include fingerprints, facial images, iris scans, and DNA, on these individuals."
Africa cable:
Paraguay cable:

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