Outcome Report of Workshop on International Investment and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
On May 12, 2016, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment hosted a one-day workshop on international investment and the rights of indigenous peoples. This outcome document synthesizes the discussions that took place during the May 12 workshop.
The workshop was part of a series of consultations undertaken to support the Special Rapporteur’s second thematic analysis on the impact of international investment agreements on the rights of indigenous peoples (available here). Held at the Ford Foundation in New York, the workshop brought together 53 academics, practitioners, indigenous representatives, and civil society representatives to explore strategies for strengthening the rights and interests of indigenous peoples in the context of international investment. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to share their diverse perspectives, experiences, and insights regarding the intersection of international investment and human rights, and to discuss creative and pragmatic approaches to short and long-term reform of both the investment and human rights regimes, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that indigenous rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.
The workshop also built on an earlier report by the Special Rapporteur setting out her concerns regarding the impact of investment and free trade agreements on the human rights of indigenous peoples. That report, which was presented to the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, outlined direct and systemic impacts of investment and free trade agreements on the rights of indigenous peoples, and called for a more thorough review of the implications of these agreements to develop and implement effective options for reform.
This outcome document summarizes discussions that took place regarding: the interaction between investment and human rights law; the key challenges facing stakeholders seeking to improve the content of investor-state contracts; and options for strengthening the human rights regime to address the challenges posed by international investment. Workshop discussions on all three topics highlighted the challenges that remain, and the need for further solutions for strengthening the rights of indigenous peoples in the context of international investment.