If you showed up at a stranger’s house uninvited, you’d knock on the door to ask permission before entering, right? This allegory sums up nicely the basic human right known as FPIC: Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples. It is one of the key principles to protect Aboriginal peoples from the destruction of their lives, cultures and livelihoods. It refers to the right of local communities to give or withhold their consent to proposed projects on their lands, such as natural resource management, economic development, health care or education. To put it simply, Indigenous peoples should have the right to say “yes” or “no” to actions that could affect their lives and futures. It is included in the ILO 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states that no Indigenous peoples should be forcibly removed from their territories and that they shouldn’t be relocated without their free, prior and informed consent as well as fair compensation. Countries including Peru, Australia and the Philippines have already included it in their national law, and major industry associations have endorsed it as a voluntary standard of corporate practice. Thanks to increasing support for FPIC, a growing number of Indigenous communities are taking part in the decision-making on their ancestral land.
Feb 8, 2016