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NCIP urged to extend, expand consultations on indigenous consent process

Indigenous groups and advocates today urged the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to expand and extend the consultations on the proposed revised guidelines for Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), citing questionable provisions and the need for a more comprehensive and inclusive consultation that respects Indigenous Peoples' (IP) right to self-determination. 

In a statement signed by 65 Indigenous groups and civil society organizations, the signatories expressed deep concern over the expedited revision process, which threatens to undermine the indigenous right to self-determination and could lead to significant socio-economic and ecological consequences. 

“Indigenous Peoples and their supporters must be given sufficient time to study and discuss these proposed rules on FPIC and be given access to information, and Indigenous Peoples should be given decision-making powers in the revised FPIC guidelines process,” the signatories said. 

The NCIP has allegedly expressed its intention to release the revised FPIC guidelines this June 2024, despite starting consultations only last month.

“The requirement for the proper conduct of FPIC is an imperative for the protection and exercise of the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their lands, territories, resources, to their cultural heritage, and self-determination. It is characterized by good faith consultations on matters affecting the Indigenous Peoples and respecting their independent collective decision-making process and the result of such process,” the groups explained. 

The groups noted that the current draft contains provisions that seriously reduce, undermine, and violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples in decision-making as an essential element of FPIC, including the exemption of certain large-scale economic activities, inaccessibility of environmental Information, and non-inclusion of Indigenous people as part of the field-based investigation team, among others. 

The signatories demanded to expand the consultation coverage so that other groups may give their insights on the revision of the FPIC guidelines. 

“The mandate of NCIP is to ‘protect and promote the interest and well-being of the ICCs/IPs with due regard to their beliefs, customs, traditions, and institutions.’ The NCIP is not a mere go-between for extractive Industries, the government, and Indigenous Peoples,” the signatories said. 

“The NCIP should, therefore, craft FPIC rules that genuinely express and protect Indigenous Peoples' rights in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other Human Rights instruments as part of the government's human rights obligation and commitments,” they ended.#

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