EU: Indigenous groups welcome inclusion of their rights in Parliament's vote on anti-deforestation law but criticise failure to protect all ecosystems
"European Parliament included respect for indigenous rights in the vote on the deforestation-free products law, but protection for all ecosystems were not considered", 15 Sep 2022
The FERC law, also known as the deforestation-free products law, will include measures that oblige companies producing commodities to respect international human rights legislation, which includes guaranteeing the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), meeting yesterday (13) in Strasbourg, France, voted on the draft law and reviewed the suggested changes. Among the proposals accepted by the MEPs, there is the prerequisite that Indigenous Peoples have guaranteed access to free, prior and informed consultation on the production of commodities, as advocated by Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO). No product may be imported into the European Union without the responsible company obtaining the consent of the affected Indigenous Peoples to install a commodity production activity close to their lands.
Another of the accepted proposals was the revision of the law annually (every year), instead of every two years as was initially foreseen. MEPs did not give in to pressure from business lobbies and leather was included in the group of commodities regulated by the regulation for deforestation-free products. This implies a major victory, as leather is one of the main products potentially responsible for deforestation imported by the European Union...
[T]he Euro-parliamentarians rejected the request to include in the anti-deforestation law the need for compensation mechanisms for Indigenous Peoples affected by commodity production chains.
“What this law needs is to be stricter in the traceability of these products. Indigenous Peoples are not looking for compensation, we want measures to avoid the impacts and, in case of illegalities, criminal prosecution for companies and not only administrative penalisations”, explains Dinamam Tuxá, APIB coordinator.
Another of the most important demands that was left out was the protection of all ecosystemes – regardless of the FAO definition of forests applied in the FERC law. “In addition to what this law recognized, we would like a much more ambitious regulation, recognizing and protecting other ecosystems for the guarantee and protection of these territories also under threat from the advance of agribusiness”, says Tuxá... Protecting only some natural areas opens a gap for commodity production chains to be moved from one region to another without solving the deforestation problem...