Recommendations of the Global Indigenous Peoples' Caucus Particularly on the Role of Youth in Promoting Effective Change in the Business and Human Rights Agenda during the 12th Forum on Business and Human Rights held on November 27-29, 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland
By: Astrid Bolinget, Cordillera Peoples Alliance
November 29, 2023
First, the role of indigenous youth in the persistence of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices should be supported.
As indigenous communities face threats of displacement due to infrastructure development, extractive industries, and other corporate projects, our ways of life are disrupted, our livelihood threatened and, more importantly, the future of the next generations are endangered. Indigenous youth are forced to leave communities to acquire higher education and in search for livelihood.
The militarization of indigenous communities as a result of our resistance against corporate and destructive projects poses a threat to the continuity of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices. This also hinders indigenous youths from returning to their communities for fear of their safety and security.
These are among the factors that lead to the disintegration of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices. The bearers of culture and indigenous knowledge are slowly disappearing. Traditions and cultures are also slowly being forgotten. To Indigenous people, land is life. It is the basis of our survival as Indigenous people, our culture, knowledge, identity, and as a youth and future generations.
Thus, it is crucial that Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices are respected in order to preserve our cultural heritage, foster community resilience, and empower the younger generations within indigenous communities.
States and corporations should ensure that businesses consider the potential impact of their operations on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices. Integrating Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices in corporate social responsibility is also important.
Second, youth representation in decision-making processes should be promoted.
Ensuring indigenous youth representation in decision-making processes and bodies is a vital step towards advancing Indigenous peoples’ rights. Indigenous youth should be included in the Free Prior and Informed Consent processes so that youth voices are taken into account in decisions affecting their communities.
Also, human rights attacks on indigenous youth such as red-tagging, terrorist tagging, trumped-up charges, abduction, intimidation, and harassment must stop to enable meaningful participation of indigenous youth in decision-making, empowerment of Indigenous Peoples in asserting our collective rights to land, territories, resources, and our rights as indigenous youth in particular.
Finally, state laws and policies that violate the human rights of Indigenous youth and all Indigenous defenders of land, rights, and resources with impunity must also be repealed.”