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7 Mar 2023

Ollia Horton, Radio France Internationale (RFI)

EU: Proposed law to prevent human rights abuses by multinationals receives cautious welcome from Indigenous leaders

"Indigenous leaders ask EU to scale up justice against mining abuses", 7 mars 2023

In February 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal called the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive ...

Edson Krenak, a descendant of the Krenak people of Brazil, was one of three Indigenous leaders representing the American NGO Cultural Survival who came to Brussels last week to bring attention to the impacts extractive industries such as oil, gas, and mining have on Indigenous Peoples' rights, lands and environments.

Krenak says that while he was pleased by the European initiative, he is concerned it will not stand up to the pressure faced by Indigenous groups.

Only 1 percent of companies in Europe are large enough to come under the jurisdiction of the proposed law, Krenak told RFI, adding that smaller partners of the larger companies may be able to slip through the net.

He said the text remained too vague on Indigenous Peoples' affairs.

The EU directive does not make specific reference to the right to free, prior and informed consent covered by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), nor the International Labour Organisation convention 169, Krenak said.

In some cases, Cultural Survival noted that previously included annexes referring to Indigenous rights had been deleted.

"We need more visibility, more dialogue. This is going to be a huge fight," Krenak says, hoping that EU representatives will realise just how potentially ground-breaking the deal could be.

Indigenous people represent 470 million people around the world, or about 6 percent of the total population.

"There can be no climate justice without the effective participation of Indigenous peoples, the main stewards of the planet's biodiversity," Krenak says.