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Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent

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Published by John Schertow

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Published by: John Schertow on Jul 13, 2009
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05/11/2014

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For Indigenous Peoples, the Right of
Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
is a requirement,prerequisite and manifestation of the exercise of the fundamental, inherent right to Self-determination asdefined in international law.Free, Prior and Informed Consent is a basic underpinning of Indigenous Peoples
ability to conclude andimplement valid Treaties and Agreements, to have sovereignty over and protect our lands and naturalresources, and to develop and participate in processes that redress violations of our land and Treaty rights.It is necessary for establishing acceptable terms and criteria for negotiations with States over any and allmatters affecting our Peoples
, lands and ways of life.
Indigenous Peoples and theRight to Free, Prior andInformed Consent
What is Free, Prior and Informed Consent?
Free 
is the absence of coercion and outsidepressure, including monetary inducements (unlessthey are mutually agreed to as part of a settlementprocess), and “divide and conquer” tactics. Itincludes the absence of any threats or impliedretaliation if the results of the decision is to say“no”.
Prior 
is having sufficient time to allow forinformation-gathering and full discussion, includingtranslations into traditional languages, before aproject starts. It must take place without timepressure or constraints
.
A plan or project must notbegin before this process is fully completed and anagreement is reached.
Informed 
 
is having all the relevant informationavailable reflecting all views and positions. Thisincludes the input of traditional elders, spiritualleaders, subsistence practitioners and traditionalknowledge holders, with adequate time andresources to consider impartial and balancedinformation about potential risks and benefits.
Consent 
is the demonstration of clear andcompelling agreement, in keeping with thedecision-making structures of the IndigenousPeoples in question, including traditionalconsensus procedures. Agreements must bereached with the full participation of authorizedleaders, representatives or decision-makinginstitutions as decided by the Indigenous Peoplesthemselves.
ANY process or activity which does not meet these criteria for obtaining their FPIC as put forth by the affected Indigenous peoples is subject to immediate cease and desist.

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