Amazon Watch paper on need for companies to adopt Free, Prior & Informed Consent policy regarding rights of indigenous peoples

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Article
1 February 2011

FPIC: The Right to Decide

Author: Amazon Watch

A growing global demand for energy and natural resources is driving an expansion of extractive and infrastructure projects into some of the most remote areas of the world, and often into the ancestral territories of indigenous peoples. The health, identity and cultural and physical survival of indigenous peoples are at particular risk from this expansion...This briefing paper focuses on the roles and responsibilities of companies, investors and finance institutions to identify, prevent and address the adverse human rights impacts of company operations...This paper highlights the importance of a company operating only where it has the free, prior and informed consent of any indigenous peoples potentially affected by their operations. It identifies some of the key challenges involved in implementing a Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) policy and makes recommendations for companies and shareholders...

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Article
1 February 2011

[PDF] The Right to Decide - The Importance of respecting free, prior and informed consent

Author: Amazon Watch

Historically, large-scale economic and industrial development has taken place without recognition of and respect for indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and resources and has led to their maltreatment, enslavement, malnutrition, disease and outright extermination...Companies operating in or near indigenous lands need to better assess how their activities affect the rights of indigenous peoples and take steps to prevent and address these impacts. In the 21st century respecting indigenous rights is not just a moral imperative but also a business necessity to avoid financial risks such as reputational damage and negative publicity; operational delay due to social unrest; divestment campaigns; cleanup costs; legal challenges and compensation amounting to billions of dollars; and loss of license to operate...This paper...identifies some of the key challenges involved in implementing a Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) policy and makes recommendations for companies and shareholders who engage in business activities or investments in the Amazon...Social unrest and conflict caused by disagreement or disaffection with a project can produce significant delays to operations in addition to reputational risk...For example, community opposition to the Yanacocha [joint venture Newmont & Compañía de Minas Buenaventura] gold mine in Peru...cost an estimated US$1.69 billion in project delays. [also refers to Chevron/Texaco, Talisman Energy, Pakitsapango dam, Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), Muriel Mining]

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