Sankar Pani of Natural Justice has participated in a workshop organized by International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) on human rights issues on 27 May 2013 and on indigenous peoples issues on 29 May 2013, held at the University of Western Australia, Perth.
The multi-stakeholder workshop was attended by industry practitioners from ICMM member companies, civil society organizations, academia and experts from international organizations and research institutions from the entire Asia-Pacific region. The event was co-facilitated by the Institute of Business and Human Rights.
The multi-stakeholder day on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples has discussed the following aspects:
- ICMM’s guidance in the area of Human Rights and Indigenous people
- Sharing of perspectives and to explore challenges and opportunities around implementing the UN Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework and Guiding Principles (including the due diligence and grievance mechanisms elements)
- Sharing of perspectives and to explore challenges and opportunities around implementing effective engagement and decision-making processes with Indigenous Peoples (including Free, Prior and Informed Consent)
- Facilitate peer-learning and exchange which contributes to the creation of regional networks around the key issues discussed
The following points emerged from the discussion:
- Local communities consent for the project is more important and need to be prioritized at the very early stage of beginning of a project. There are ample of examples where the projects could not move ahead even they have obtained all necessary statutory clearances with active support from respective government.
- There has been an increase in conflicts in existing and proposed mining areas across the globe and mostly local people are resisting to such projects out of their bad experiences with earlier such projects. So it is extremely important to establish good practices and responsible mining so as to remove the blots and scars the community had in past.
- Cultural rights of indigenous community have to be respected before any kind of developmental activity started in their territory.
- There should be enough measures taken so that community can play a vital role in terms of decision making in the operation of the project and by this way community can start owning the process and conflicts can be minimized
In the context of effective participation and decision making, Natural Justice has suggested to experiment with the idea of bio-cultural community protocol. Since this idea is of more broad based and participatory approach and can able to sort out the issues and suggest some remedy emerged from the community consultation process.
The ideas that emerged from the consultation process of this regional workshop will be taken forward by ICMM in consultation with its members. The relevant points will be incorporated in ICMM policy document on Human Rights and Indigenous People.