Indigenous peoples’ organisations submit observations on proposed EU corporate due diligence laws that uphold indigenous rights

BHRRC_EUPresidency_mHREDD_Compendium_11-2020

Indigenous leaders and human rights defenders have contributed to a Compendium of civil society submissions to the current European Union Presidency on steps “Towards EU Mandatory Due Diligence Legislation.” The compilation has been brought together by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development featuring papers from a wide range of stakeholders including academia, civil society, public sector and business.

In a contribution entitled “Perspectives from Southern Organisations and Allied Human Rights NGOs: Ensuring a Legal Corporate Duty in the EU Includes Meaningful Provisions on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities”, 11 indigenous and human rights rights organisations from across the globe reiterated their calls on the key components that EU lawmakers should address in developing new legal instruments to regulate corporations and supply chains, including the elements it requires to be effective in holding companies and the finance industry to account. They also emphasise the importance of direct EU consultation with rights holders, adapted to different cultural requirements, to capture their perspective on due diligence measures and ensure increased accountability on behalf of those whose human rights have been impacted.

Defenders stressed that, with the right provisions, an EU-wide corporate duty to protect human rights could be key to promoting the reform of corporate conduct in order to help end attacks, criminalisation, intimidation, threats and killings against defenders and communities. To do so, it would need to contain robust safeguards and requirements for solid corporate actions to improve safety and protection for human rights defenders and whistleblowers who lodge complaints against a specific company or investor.

The authors also highlighted that for the EU legislation to be effective, it must include norms and requirements fully aligned with international human rights law and standards, including in relation to the customary land and territorial rights of indigenous peoples and communities. Linked to this, the organisations emphasise the essential need to require respect for the right to free, prior and informed consent in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and related human rights instruments.

The submission also touched on human rights and environmental impact assessments that should be required under the proposed EU due diligence law. The EU legal instrument regulating corporate conduct must require businesses to address past and present impacts identified with their existing operations, suppliers and investments, by including requirements for remedial actions. The submitting organisations also stress the vital importance of establishing a dedicated EU enforcement framework to ensure compliance.

Contributing organisations:

  • The Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP), Nepal
  • Nepal Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation (IMPACT), Kenya
  • Project on organising, Development, Education, and Research (PODER), Mexico/Latin America
  • Federación por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos Indígenas (FAPI), Paraguay
  • Palenke Alto Cauca – Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PAC-PCN), Colombia
  • Indigenous Peoples Partnership (IPP), Myanmar
  • Promotion of Indigenous and Nature Together (POINT), Myanmar
  • Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Thailand
  • Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba), Philippines
  • International Work Group for International Affairs (IWGIA), Denmark
  • Forest Peoples Programme, Netherlands

See pages 24-27 in the Compendium document, accessible here.

Source: Forest Peoples Programme

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