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Call for inputs/endorsement to the European Union law on corporations to respect human rights


2021-02-03

Dear friends,

We have the pleasure to forward you a joint letter from Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI), the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMG), and Docip.

Best regards,

Pascal D. Angst
Docip - Information & Agenda
secretariat(at)docip.org

 


 

Call for inputs/endorsement to the European Union law on corporations to respect human rights

 

Dear colleagues,

“The European Commission has launched an international public consultation on a new EU law to hold business to account for its impact on people and the planet. This consultation will help shape legislation that will be introduced in Europe this year which could 1) force companies to take actions to prevent human rights and environmental harm in their operations and supply chains and 2) would hold companies to account for any harm done.

At its strongest, this law would cover European companies both at home and overseas, and any companies operating or trading within the EU market. This is significant because the EU is both the largest economy in the world and the world’s biggest trading bloc, with 500 million consumers with a GDP per head of €25 000.

We have a long journey ahead to ensure that this law is strong, ambitious and enforceable, but we hope we can work together with you to show the Commission the huge impact that corporate accountability could have for the land and environmental defenders we work with. This begins with us inputting to the Commission’s consultation.” Global Witness

As Indigenous Peoples are seriously impacted by European companies, it is critical for us to engage in this process. Widespread violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples by European companies have been reported and there is hardly any access to justice at national, regional or global levels. An EU law to hold EU businesses to account for their impacts on communities, including Indigenous Peoples, and on the environment is therefore of crucial importance for Indigenous Peoples.

The initial scope of the law refers to labor rights, protection of children from forced labor, unlawful eviction from ancestral land and adverse environment impacts. The initial reference to “unlawful eviction from ancestral land” is highly problematic and too narrow to ensure the respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of EU business operations in indigenous territories. Thus, Indigenous Peoples need to provide their inputs and recommendations in this public consultation, so it can be considered in the drafting of the law. Further, sustained lobby and advocacy efforts of indigenous leaders and representatives are needed to influence the content of the EU law. This new law must include explicit reference to the rights of Indigenous Peoples affirmed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention No.169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. Given the efforts of indigenous representatives and the Documentation Center for Indigenous Peoples (Docip) in engaging with the European Commission (EC) and the European Union, there have been significant Resolutions issued by the EU Parliament, and commitments made by the EC in support of the rights and welfare of Indigenous Peoples. We can therefore build on these when influencing the EU law on corporations.

We therefore encourage indigenous organizations, networks and institution to support the inputs prepared by the Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI), the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMG), and Docip. There are 25 questions for the inputs but we only responded to relevant questions. The inputs we made include relevant sections of EU Parliament statements and resolutions to highlight standing commitments made by the EU to Indigenous Peoples. These include the need to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their lands against land-grabbing, the need to seek the Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples in business operations as a matter of Indigenous Peoples right to self-determination, among others. The input also includes recommendations by Global Witness which are relevant to Indigenous Peoples.

The inputs below are based on the questionnaire provided by the EC. The response to each question should not be more than 5000 characters. The inputs we have provided for each question is below this limit. For those interested to be part of this call for inputs, there are three ways to do it, as follows:

  1. You can visit the EC website and respond directly to their call for online inputs. Please note, however, that their website isn’t very user-friendly. This is why Global Witness developed their tool, to make it easier to submit responses to the consultation.
  2. You can make revisions to the answers we have drafted so that they better represent your views and experiences. This is the ideal scenario for the consultation – that each organization submits its own response so that the EU understands the risks and realities faced by indigenous groups around the world in their own contexts. If you do this, please ensure that your answers do not go beyond the word limit. You can submit your answers to us for onward submission to the EC (see below) if you provide your first and family name, name of organization, email address.
  3. You can endorse our input as it is and provide the following information: First name and family name, name of organization, email address

For No. 2 and 3 above kindly submit this to:

The Deadline for Submission is February 5, 2021.

This will provide us the time to make the submission online in time for the EC deadline of February 8, 2021.

Please make your submission as early as possible (preferably before the deadline) so it will be easier to do the online submissions to the EC.

Further, the process for the development and adoption of the EU Law on Corporations is anticipated to take more than one year. IPRI, IPMG and Docip in collaboration with others will prepare a lobby and advocacy plan for the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples’ rights in the new EU law on corporations. This plan will include documentation, education and learning sessions, preparation and publication of case studies, reports, and other advocacy materials, meetings with EC, EU officials, EU-based NGOs, media and public outreach among others. We will circulate this lobby and advocacy plan in February to all those interested. We hope we will be able to have a well- coordinated and sustained lobby and advocacy on this important undertaking to promote the respect and protection of Indigenous Peoples rights in a new law on EU business operations.

In solidarity,

Joan Carling- IPRI and IPMG
Rémi Orsier - Docip

 


 

Download this letter as pdf:

Download the Indigenous Peoples' draft inputs in all four languages here: https://bit.ly/3pqKsWA

Direct links:

 


 

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