Australian Government, Muckaty and draft UN Business Reference Guide

How does Australian government’s handling of negotiations for radioactive waste facility with Warlmanpa people at Muckaty compare with these points from the proposed UN Business Guide on Indigenous Rights?

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
A Business Reference Guide

Exposure Draft
10 December 2012
Comments to be sent by 1 June 2013 to

Two fundamental elements of indigenous peoples’ rights, on which the ability to exercise and enjoy a number of other rights rest, are the right to self-determination (discussed on page 36) and free, prior and informed consent (discussed on page 24) which, among other things, require that business fully and meaningfully engage indigenous peoples in, and in many cases obtain their free, prior and informed consent for, business activities that will affect them or their rights.

Free, prior and informed consent
Action: Obtain (and maintain) free, prior and informed consent from indigenous peoples where appropriate

The concept of free, prior and informed consent (“FPIC”) is fundamental to the UNDRIP as a measure to ensure that indigenous peoples’ rights are protected.

FPIC is required whenever there is a risk of impact to any right that is essential to the relevant indigenous peoples’ survival.23 This includes any of the following actions, in relation to which the UNDRIP expressly refers to FPIC:

storage or disposal of hazardous materials on indigenous peoples’ lands or territories (Article 29); and
 projects affecting indigenous peoples’ lands, territories or other resources, particularly in connection with the development, use or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources (Article 32).

Consent – the relevant indigenous peoples must agree to the activity (which also means that they have the right to say no). Engagement or consultation, even when meaningful, does not constitute consent.

The relevant indigenous peoples are entitled to decide whether or not to provide consent, in accordance with their own decision-making processes and through their own representative institutions. Businesses must not attempt to impose their own decision-making processes on indigenous communities. Businesses must also not seek to create division within communities in relation to a proposed activity.

Emphasis added – songlines

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