UN Body wants mining companies to respect the rights of Indigenous People
Below is the press release of an importand UN meeting on Mining. Punit Minj the Gen. Sec of JMACC is representing the organisation and Sanjay Basu Mullick is representing JJBA.
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March 24, 2009
UN Body wants mining companies to respect rights of Indigenous Peoples and adhere to international standards of corporate accountability
MANILA, Philippines--Some 85 representatives of Indigenous Peoples from around the world have arrived in the country for the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries to find effective ways in combating abuses committed by giant companies engaged in extractive activities, which they claimed are still grossly violating the human rights of indigenous peoples and contributing to severe destruction of the environment.
International expertssaid that extractions of mineral resources have gone on unabated worldwide, often sanctioned by their statesowing to seemingly supple regulations or toothless policiesagainst giant mining companies that destroyed ecological balance and drove indigenous peoples out of their cultural lands.
"This crisis is created by the elite. They are the people we have not seen in our lives but whose deeds have impacts on our lives," said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a Kankana-ey and current Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the opening of the one week international conference held at Legend Villas in Mandaluyong City. She further said that "States and mining corporations should adhere to the standards set by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)." The UNDRIP is the latest international agreement adopted by the UN General Assembly and signed by 143 countries in September 13, 2007.
Conference organizer Tebtebba, the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education, said that alarming cases of human rights violations against the indigenous peoples have been filed before courts of various countries and inter-governmental bodies, such as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
IP representatives said that their cultural territories are continuously shrinking due to massive encroachment of mining companies. They expressed fears that unless governments and international bodies will join hands, addressing this violation of human rights and destruction of the environment will not stop.
"Mining companies don't have the concept and practice of corporate social responsibility," said Roger Moody of the Mines and Communities from London, speaking before the delegates from Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe and Russia, Arctic, Latin and North America.
The Philippines suffered two of the biggest mining disasters --when the Tapian Pit ofMarcopper Mining Corp. collapsed and spilled 1.6 million cubic meters of mine tailings in the waterway of Marinduque in 1996, and when cyanide-laden waste of an Australian owned Lafayette Mining Limited spilled in the waterway of Rapu-Rapu Island in 2005.
March 23, 2009
UN Mandates Meeting of World's Indigenous Peoples and International Experts to Address Issues of Human Rights Abuses and Corporate Accountability of Extractive Industries
This Expert Group Meeting is being organized following a recommendation of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, approved by ECOSOC decision 2008/249, which authorized a three-day international expert group meeting on the implementation of Article 42 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and requested that...
more information --
Manila, Philippines – Indigenous peoples' territories in almost all parts of the world are richly endowed with natural resources, including minerals, oil and gas. This rich endowment, however, has become a curse to many of them as corporations involved in extractive industries continue to encroach their lands and cause the worst forms of environmental degradation and human rights violations
To date, several complaints and cases related to extractive industries (mining, oil and gas) have been filed by indigenous peoples from all regions of the world against corporations who have constantly violated their basic rights, their rights to their lands, territories and resources in courts of various countries and at various inter-governmental bodies such as the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Despite commitments to various international agreements protecting human rights several States have been reported to permit and tolerate the abuses of corporations involved in mining, oil and gas, including the Philippines. The latest addition to these international agreements is the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 13, 2007 and signed by 143 countries.
According to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a Kankana-ey from the Cordillera and the current chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) that following the growing and alarming reports by indigenous peoples against extractive industries, a recommendation was adopted during the 7th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which authorized a three-day international expert group workshop on indigenous peoples' rights, corporate accountability and the extractive industries and requested that the results of the meeting be reported to the Permanent Forum at its 8th Session, on 18-29 May 2009. The UNPFII s an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. Further, the report of the workshop will also feed into the 18th and 19th Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which will address the themes of mining, chemicals, waste management and sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Two international events are being organized by Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education), an international NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. From March 23-25, 2009, the International Conference on Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries will take place at the Legend Villas, Mandaluyong City. Attending this conference are indigenous peoples and international experts from five continents in Asia (Philippines, Indonesia, India, Mongolia, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Iran), Pacific (Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia), Europe (Russia, Sweden, Norway, UK), Latin America (Peru, Ecuador, Suriname, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Argentina), Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Uganda) and North America (USA and Canada) and will examine the social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of extractive industries on indigenous peoples and impacts on biological diversity and to analyze how the rights of indigenous peoples as contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected or violated. At the end of the conference, they will make recommendations to States, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Inter-Agency Support Group for Indigenous Peoples and other multilateral bodies on the roles they can play in ensuring that the extractive industries adhere to international standards on human rights of indigenous peoples and standards of corporate accountability, as well as to establish a plan and mechanism for coordination and solidarity among indigenous peoples affected by extractive industries.
This will be followed by the International Expert Workshop on Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Corporate Accountability and Extractive Industries from 27-29 March. The Expert Workshop is also organized by Tebtebba together with the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).
Representatives of UN bodies and agencies and governments, as well as international NGOs, will also be participating in these activities. These include the UN Development Programme (UNDP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), International Labour Organization (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank (WB). International NGOs and institutions include the Center for International Environmental Law, Amnesty International and the World Resources Institute. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) are some of the government agencies that will also be represented.
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