UNPFII22: Agenda Item 5 (d) Human rights dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Agenda Item 5 (d) Human rights dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Twenty-Second Session
19th April 2023
Statement on behalf of the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus
Presented by Durga Rai, Nepal
I, on behalf of the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, acknowledge the commendable works of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNSRIP) and Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP). We appreciate the timely decisions of EMRIP and UNSRIP to conduct a study on ‘Impact militarization has on the rights of Indigenous Peoples’ and thematic report on “Tourism and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.
The Indigenous Peoples of Asia are high up on the list of targets and victims of human rights violations including due to militarization and tourism projects. Tourism projects are often designed and implemented without respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to self-determination; lands, territories and resources; free prior and informed consent; as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Furthermore, the travel industry is often deeply voyeuristic in the way it views Indigenous cultures. While tourism may seem to be doing good for society, it also is creating social and psychological consequences for the Indigenous Peoples that are more detrimental than beneficial.
The incidents of killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, intimidation, persecution and violence against IPs, Indigenous women and human rights defenders are increasing every day. Moreover, the pervasive lack of legal formalization, recognition, protection, enforcement, and monitoring of customary tenure rights and legal protections of Indigenous identity underpins the majority of risks Indigenous Peoples face linked to invasive, colonial, and neo-liberalized conservation activities.
We reiterate that militarization, tourism and conservation projects have incited criminalization and attacks on IPs and violated FPIC processes of IPs in Asia. Some examples are the military coup in Myanmar, the five-star Marriott Hotel construction plan over the Mro Indigenous Peoples’ land in CHT and the government’s planning to set up the country’s largest export processing zone on Santal people’s Bagda farmland of plain land in Bangladesh; Hydro power and transmission line projects financed by Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank in Tanahun, Lamjung, Nawalparasi and Kathmandu districts in Nepal;
continuing road constructions and mining in India, Malaysia, etc; the Build Build Build program in the Philippines, and The World Heritage Committee’s dangerous precedent on the declaration of Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (KKFC) by disregarding severe cases of reported human rights violations and history of the Karen people in Thailand, etc. The Chaoley Indigenous Community in Thailand, the original peoples of the sea, are facing serious difficulties linked to tourism development and declaration of marine national parks in Thailand
The role of Indigenous Peoples in development such as tourism, and conservation, among other must be understood and addressed from the framework of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and international and regional human rights instruments. The governments must protect and business operations must perform their due diligence, respect and engage in collective decision-making, respecting the rights of all concerned, and benefits must be shared equitably. Access to remedy mechanisms should be put in place.
Therefore, we urge the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
- To call and advise on States government to harmonize the national policy with the international legal standards, UNDRIP and regional human rights instruments.
- To promote the international legal standards, recognize Indigenous Peoples’ rights to lands, territories and resources, self-determination, cultural heritage and meaningful participation in decision-making, all of which form the basis of our collective identity and their physical, economic and cultural survival.
- To urge businesses to perform their due diligence, respect the rights of all concerned and engage in collective decision-making; and
- To create and make accessible grievance and remedy mechanisms to ensure justice and the equitable sharing of benefits.