26 April, 2017

Report on international investment, free trade on human rights of indigenous peoples

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As a starting point for the UNSRRIP's ongoing work on international investment and free trade regimes, the report discusses a number of areas of concern, relating both to direct violations of the rights of indigenous peoples and the systemic impact of those regimes on their lives and communities.

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Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on
the rights of indigenous peoples on the impact of international
investment and free trade on the human rights of indigenous peoples

Summary

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The present report is submitted to the General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples pursuant to her mandate under Human Rights Council resolution 27/13. In the report, the Special Rapporteur provides a summary of her activities since her last report to the General Assembly. She dedicates the thematic section of the present report to an analysis of international investment agreements and investment clauses of free trade regimes and their impacts on the rights of indigenous peoples. She views the present report as the starting point for that issue, which she intends to be of continuing importance throughout the course of her mandate.

As a starting point for her ongoing work on international investment and free trade regimes, the report discusses a number of areas of concern, relating both to direct violations of the rights of indigenous peoples and the systemic impact of those regimes on their lives and communities.

The Special Rapporteur contends that investment clauses of free trade agreements and bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, as they are currently conceptualized and implemented, have actual and potential negative impacts on indigenous peoples' rights, in particular on their rights to self-determination; lands, territories and resources; participation; and free, prior and informed consent. That is not to suggest that investments are inherently destructive. Future studies will focus on how investment agreements can be equally beneficial for indigenous peoples and investors.

The present report highlights her analysis of the unjust elements of the prevailing system of global economic and financial governance and the constriction of the protective capacity of States and local governance systems. It discusses how indigenous peoples, as some of the most marginalized in the world, bear a disproportionate burden of a system that contains systemic imbalances between the enforcement of corporate investors' rights and human rights. The report concludes that both a more thorough review of implications of international investment and free trade agreements and deeper policy and systemic reforms are needed to ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of indigenous peoples' rights.

Download the Report.