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Indigenous Voices: Transforming Business Operations in Indigenous Territories

Image by Arun Anoop

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP’s) is an important instrument for Indigenous Peoples to strengthen the obligations and commitment of States and businesses, to protect, promote and respect Indigenous Peoples rights.  The UNGPs first decade of implementation in 2021 has contributed to notable progress towards the respect of Indigenous Peoples rights in the context of business.
Despite some positive developments that occurred during the last 10 years of UNGP implementation at different levels, Indigenous Peoples continue to face grave human rights violations related to business activities in their traditional lands and territories. Numerous cases of forced evictions of indigenous peoples ‘communities such as in India and Nepal to give way to business activities; and criminalization of indigenous leaders and environment defenders, and violence against them, were documented and reported. However, not much attention and actions are being undertaken by States and business to provide access to justice and prevent more violations of indigenous peoples in line with the UNGPs. It is thus important to reflect on the progress and gaps in the implementation of the UNGPs and explore ways to advance and strengthen the implementation of the UNGP to make positive changes for indigenous peoples on the ground.


Session Description


The session will take the form of a moderated two-panel discussion with one panel composed of indigenous leaders  from grassroots organizations to share on their communities’ narratives in relation to business activities in their territories and ways to address their concerns in line with the UNGPs. These business activities are coal mining, Palm oil and Dams and transmission lines.  The other panel will be reactors composed of representatives of  other stakeholders-- National Human Rights Institution,  UN agencies, and government bodies   who will share their perspective in  strengthening the implementation of the UNGP in relation to indigenous peoples in South Asia.  There will be time allocated for Q and A with participants.
IPRI will also present briefly its video on Indigenous Peoples and key highlights of its report on the UNGP’s Decade of Implementation: Progress Achieved, Gaps, and Challenges and Recommendations for the Next Decade.


Session Objectives

The key objectives of this session are to:

  • Raise awareness about the UNGP’s and its relevance to Indigenous Peoples including its decade of implementation  and how to strengthen implementation for the 2nd decade

  • Share narratives of impacts of business activities to Indigenous Peoples in South Asia ;  and their actions to promote and protect their rights including engagements with business and states.

  • Present different perspectives in strengthening the implementation of the UNGP including  good practices in the protection, promotion and respect of Indigenous Peoples rights in the context of business operations


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