By: Michelle Lau, UN Global Compact and Arturo Requesens, Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The UN Global Compact released A Business Reference Guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as part of the second annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva. The Guide aims to help business understand the rights of indigenous peoples and recommends practical actions to respect and support these rights.
The Business Reference Guide grew out of dialogue among a group of Global Compact LEAD companies and is the product of an 18-month collaborative process. As part of a public consultation period, thousands of stakeholders from around the world – including indigenous peoples, companies, business and industry associations, academia, international organizations, NGOs and other experts – were invited to provide input to the development of the Guide.
The new Guide follows the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007. The Declaration elaborates internationally recognized human rights of indigenous peoples, both individual and collective rights. Valmaine Toki, Member of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Senior Lecturer at the University of Waikato Te Piringa Law School said, “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a key international document articulating fundamental human rights for indigenous peoples. I am pleased that the objective of this Business Reference Guide is to promote respect for, and recognition of, these rights, in particular, as they relate to business activities. This Guide will be instrumental to facilitate meaningful interaction with indigenous peoples."
Since the landmark endorsement by business of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011, business has increasingly acknowledged the relevance of respecting and supporting internationally recognized human rights. In order to highlight the steps business is already taking to respect and support indigenous peoples’ rights internationally, a Practical Supplement to the Guide was also released with examples of business practices.
Ursula Wynhoven, General Counsel at the UN Global Compact said, “We hope that this Business Guide will help to fill a critical void: namely, to assist businesses around the world to better understand indigenous peoples’ rights, and how to respect and support those rights.”
For more information, please contact Arturo Requesens, Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.