UN expert body urges action to prevent violation of indigenous rights due to business

October 30, 2013

(Indigenous people in Totonicapán, Guatemala. Photo: OHCHR/Rolando Alfaro)

Yesterday’s post about the G.A. report of UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders pointing to the pressure on environmental HRDs, is followed immediately by another on a similar topic: on 28 October 2013 the ‘UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises‘ made its report to the General Assembly and concludes that States and corporations need to do more to prevent the violation of indigenous peoples’ rights as a result of business-related activities.

Indigenous peoples are among the groups most severely affected by the extractive, agro-industrial and energy sectors,” said Pavel Sulyandziga, Chair of the UN Working Group. “Negative effects range from indigenous peoples’ right to maintain their chosen traditional way of life, with their distinct cultural identity, to discrimination in employment and in accessing goods and services.”

Other challenges involved land use and ownership, as well as displacement through forced or economic resettlement. “Such disruption often leads to serious abuses of civil and political rights, with human rights defenders in particular put at risk,” Mr. Sulyandziga said. “Indigenous peoples are also often excluded from agreements and decision-making processes that irrevocably affect their lives.

The report highlights how the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can clarify the roles and responsibilities of States, business enterprises and indigenous peoples in addressing these problems. Mr. Sulyandziga urged interested parties to register for the second annual Forum on Business and Human Rights to be held in Geneva in December. It is an opportunity to discuss challenges in implementing the Guiding Principles, in particular sectors, in operational environments and in relation to specific rights and groups, including indigenous peoples. It will also be a chance to identify good practices and opportunities for dialogue and cooperation toward solutions.

via United Nations News Centre – UN expert body urges action to prevent violation of indigenous rights due to business activities.

For those who want to know more about the report of the Rapporteur on HRDs there is a good summary to be fond on: http://womennewsnetwork.net/2013/10/29/human-rights-activists-un/

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