PEOPLES WANT GLOBAL MORATORIUM ON MINING, EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES
-- The united voice of the Indigenous Peoples yesterday swept from
continent to continent in 37 countries calling on their respective
governments to stop large-scale mining and other extractive activities
(oil and gas projects) on their indigenous lands until effective
measures to safeguard their rights and the environment are in place.
The call for a global moratorium on extractive projects
for oil, gold, gas and other mineral resources also includes a demand
that World Bank must stop funding transnational mining companies
in their effort to exploit the world's natural resources.
This is among their collective calls contained in
the final Declaration that is set to be submitted to the United
Nations, multilateral banks and government officials who will be
attending the International Expert Workshop on Indigenous Peoples
Rights, Corporate Accountability and Extractive Industries at the
Legend Villas in Mandaluyong City on March 27-29, 2009.
According to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a Kankana-ey
from the Cordillera and the current chair of the UN Permanent Forum
on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) that following the growing and alarming
reports by indigenous peoples against extractive industries, a recommendation
was adopted during the 7th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which authorized a three-day international
expert group workshop on indigenous peoples' rights, corporate accountability
and the extractive industries and requested that the results of
the meeting be reported to the Permanent Forum at its 8th Session,
on 18-29 May 2009. The UNPFII s an advisory body to the Economic
and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues
related to economic and social development, culture, the environment,
education, health and human rights. .
"We call for a moratorium on further extractive
industry projects that may affect us, until structures and processes
are in place that will ensure respect for our human rights. The
determination of when this can be realized can only be made by those
communities whose lives, livelihoods and environment are affected
by extractive activities," they said. Further, stronger mechanisms
should be enforced to fight the indiscriminate practices of extractive
industries, which they said are often ignored or intentionally allowed
by their respective governments.
They want the World Bank to immediately stop financing
transnational mining companies and commence phasing out of its funding,
promotion and support for fossil fuel- related projects, including
large-scale mining projects. "The World Bank must provide a
timeline to end such funding," the declaration said.
One provision in the UN Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) -- the free, prior, and informed
consent (FPIC) -- poses serious disagreement with the World Bank,
as the latter has not accepted such and instead coined and followed
its own words to read: "free, prior and informed consultation."
This, the Indigenous Peoples said, has been used by the World Bank
and the transnational mining companies to skirt the law and push
through with the extractive activities. They said that "consent
and consultation" are two different words and each has distinct
meaning. The UNDRIP is the latest international agreement adopted
by the UN General Assembly and signed by 143 countries in September
"We want to request that UN to establish procedures
which provide indigenous communities with the opportunity to request
the relevant UN agencies to assist them in the monitoring and provision
of independent information on FPIC processes," they said.
In the Philippines," free, prior and informed
consent" is also embodied in the Indigenous Peoples' Rights
Act of 1997.
They added that World Bank Group must update its
operational directives and safeguard policies with regard to indigenous
peoples and adopt the UNDRIP provision of free, prior and informed
consent in all the WB assisted mining projects,
Indigenous lands around the world are facing massive
threats from the influx of extractive industries, which the indigenous
delegates to this second international conference claimed have appalling
records of environmental destructions and violations of human rights
of the indigenous peoples.
The 85 delegates from 37 countries said they demand
compensation for damages inflicted upon their lands and lives, and
the rehabilitation of their degraded environments caused by extractive
As extractive industries invades indigenous lands,
countless of violent incidents are happening around the world, which
is the reason why the delegates are proposing to create an international
indigenous criminal court that would address this kind of problem,
including the loss of lives as a result of indiscriminate mining
committed by transnational mining firms, and whose "decisions
will be based on our customary laws."
The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) participated
in the three-day international confab. #