Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya: Extractive industries operating within or near indigenous territories
Document A/HRC/18/35, 11 July 2011

In his report, the Special Rapporteur provides a summary of the activities carried out during his third year in the mandate, including cooperation with other international and regional mechanisms and bodies in the field of indigenous rights, and the activities carried out in his four main areas of work: promoting good practices; country reports; specific cases of alleged human rights violations; and thematic studies. The Special Rapporteur devotes the second half of the report to an analysis of the impact of extractive industries operating within or near indigenous territories following the distribution of a questionnaire on the issue to Governments, indigenous peoples, corporations and civil society. The growing awareness of the impact of extractive industries on the rights of indigenous peoples is further raised by the concerns expressed by many of the responses received confirming the assertion that these projects and industries are becoming the greatest challenges to the exercise of the rights of indigenous peoples. This situation is further evidenced by the lack of understanding of basic minimum standards on the effects of extractive industries affecting indigenous peoples and about the role and responsibility of the State to ensure protection of their rights. One of the major issues cited by questionnaire respondents focused on the adverse impact of extractive industry operations on indigenous peoples’ social structures and cultures, particularly when those operations result in the loss of lands and natural resources upon which indigenous communities have traditionally relied. In such cases, resource extraction can jeopardize the survival of indigenous groups as distinct cultures that are inextricably connected to the territories they have traditionally inhabited. The Special Rapporteur concludes with the need to continue the study of the issue through further consultations towards the operationalization of the rights of indigenous peoples in the context of natural resource extraction affecting indigenous territories in order to be able to present a specific set of guidelines or principles by 2013. Download the report [pdf] …