VIVAT International Submission on Mining and HR
June 3rd, 2013
VIVAT International submitted an Oral Statement to the 23rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations. The submission focused on concerns related to mining activities and their negative effects, particularly on indigenous peoples.
A directive signed last year by Brazil’s Solicitor-General “opens up all indigenous areas to mineral, dams, roads, military bases and other developments of ‘national interest’ without the need to consult with or address concerns of indigenous peoples”, according to an expert familiar with the directive who asked to remain anonymous. It also restricts demarcation of new indigenous territories. A similar dynamic is underway in Peru, where the government recently backslid on implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Consultation Law (Consultation Law). The landmark law, passed in 2011, requires the Peruvian government to consult indigenous peoples affected directly by development policies and projects such as oil drilling, mining, roads and forestry. Consultations must aim to achieve agreement or consent. The hope was that the law, if implemented effectively, could help reduce the number of violent conflicts that frequently emerge in the country’s oil and mining industries.
However, in early May, Peru’s Vice Minister of Culture Ivan Lanegra—responsible for overseeing implementation of Peru’s Consultation Law—resigned in protest following Executive branch declarations that highland (or campesina) communities do not qualify as indigenous peoples. At the same time, the Peruvian government announced that it will proceed with 14 mining projects located in the Peruvian highlands without prior consultation with neighboring communities.