Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples - CIVICUS Statement

33rd session of the Human Rights Council

CIVICUS welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s report on the rights of indigenous peoples and its contribution towards the development of a stronger guiding framework on the relationship between business and human rights. We especially applaud the Special Rapporteur’s thematic analysis of the impact of international investment agreements on the rights of indigenous peoples within the context of achieving greater coherence between international investment law and international human rights standards to safeguard the fulfilment of states’ duties to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples.

While recognizing these important contributions, we remain seriously concerned by the wide implementation gap between states’ international human rights commitments and national realities on the ground. Entrenched deficits in free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities affected by large infrastructure and extractive projects undertaken by foreign investors is at the core of countless rights violations across the Global South, wherein human rights defenders involved in natural resource governance are being systematically persecuted. The particularly acute situation for HRDs in Latin America, which has the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous region in the world for environmental activists, is widely reflected within the Special Rapporteur’s report. We remain particularly concerned by the situation in Brazil and Honduras, which maintain some of the highest numbers of killings of environmental human rights defenders in the world.

We firmly endorse the recommendations set forth by the Special Rapporteur and urge all Member and Observer States to pledge their support to the mandate holder through the provision of adequate resources, the facilitation of country visits and by responding in a timely fashion to all communications and recommendations submitted by the Special Rapporteur. We would encourage the Special Rapporteur to further examine the intersecting concerns of civic space, investment rights, and violence and discrimination against indigenous peoples, and to strengthen her engagement with other mandate holders working to promote and protect the rights critical to civil society, including the Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, expression and association and assembly. Thank you Mr. President.