Indigenous and traditional communities’ way of life is deeply interwoven with and reliant upon access to their traditional land and natural resources. However, as global demand for resources and energy intensifies, internationally financed projects are increasingly encroaching on Indigenous land – threatening the survival of their traditional way of life and culture. Indigenous communities have inherent rights to self-determination and participation in decisions about how the land and resources they steward are used, including the right to free, prior, and informed consent (“FPIC”). In addition, many international investors and development banks have specific policies regarding protections for Indigenous and Traditional Peoples.

Despite these protections, international investors, governments, and corporations frequently violate Indigenous rights – from denying land claims, to destroying sacred sites, to failing to provide information in local languages. We have also seen investors struggle to correctly identify indigenous groups, in many cases creating their own institutional definition of indigenous peoples that does not match with definitions under international law. Our Research program has documented 126 cases where Indigenous rights and cultural heritage were threatened, raised in accountability office complaints in our public database, the Accountability Console. We support Indigenous and traditional communities to demand their rights be respected and protect their traditional way of life.

Accountability Counsel’s work with the Cerro de Oro communities in Mexico produced an example of Indigenous Chinanteco people successfully using FPIC as the basis to withhold their consent through an accountability office-initiated dialogue process to defend their rights and protect their environment.

Relevant Cases Include: Ridge to Reef Conservation Project, Myanmar | Oil in the Amazon, Peru | Oro Province Palm Oil, PNG | Hydroelectric Power in Oaxaca, Mexico | Tea Plantations in Assam, India | Khimti-Dhalkebar Transmission, Nepal | Mining in the South Gobi, Mongolia | Water Project in Jharkhand, India

Select Media

Myanmar: Ridge to Reef Project
Peru: Oil in the Amazon
Mexico: Oaxaca Hydroelectric
India: Assam Tea Plantations
Nepal: Khimti-Dhalkebar Transmission Line
Mongolia: South Gobi Mining
India: Jharkhand Water Project