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Rights

Background

Indigenous policy undermines rights

12 September 2005

A paper by Forest Peoples Programme provides a historical summary of indigenous peoples’ experiences with participation in World Bank policy processes and programmes. It finds that the Bank has failed to address demands that indigenous peoples have made, particularly in relation to human rights, international standards and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). It provides a critical analysis of indigenous experiences of the World Commission on Dams, the Extractive Industries Review, and the seven-year-long revision process of the Bank’s operational policy on indigenous peoples.

The new IBRD and IDA policy on indigenous peoples (OP/BP 4.10) came into force in August. It was subject to heavy criticism at the UN permanent forum on indigenous issues in May, largely in relation to the weakening of FPIC as an international standard. A joint statement signed by 24 indigenous organisations at the forum said: “Of specific concern is the Bank’s recent decision to require a process of free prior and informed consultation with affected indigenous peoples’ communities to ascertain their broad community support for a project, rather than requiring their free prior and informed consent. [This] stands to severely threaten the lands, territories, and natural resources, and to undermine their internationally recognized human rights.” The Bank currently finances more than 230 projects involving indigenous peoples.