Rights of indigenous peoples

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Does your business respect the human, land, culture and intellectual property rights of tribal and indigenous peoples?

EXCELLENT Answers

No EXCELLENT answers have been published for this question.

GOOD Answers

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OKAY Answers

No OKAY answers have been published for this question.

POOR Answers

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This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018

Globally, there are over 370 million indigenous people, living in 70 countries and spanning six continents.
Historically indigenous peoples have been marginalised, dispossessed and subjugated, exploited by a dominant society and denied basic political, social and cultural rights. While the state holds primary responsibility for protecting and respecting the rights of all citizens, including those of indigenous groups, business and other institutions also have responsibilities when dealing with tribal and indigenous peoples.

International law, as set out in International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 107 and 169 and, in particular, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, recognises the right of tribal and indigenous peoples to ownership of the lands that they have traditionally occupied and to the natural resources and intellectual property pertaining to those lands. Nonetheless, in many countries, including those that have ratified the international conventions, governments do not always ensure that indigenous and tribal land rights are adequately protected. Furthermore, the human rights of tribal and indigenous peoples may be consistently ignored or violated by business. Taken to its extreme, some peoples suffer forced displacement and subsequent confiscation of their land for commercial exploitation of natural resources such as timber, oil, gold and diamonds or for ranching and commercial agriculture. Even when indigenous populations remain, they may still suffer as a result of commercial operations, leading to social and environmental damage, potentially leading to the loss of their way of life. Such acculturation generally leads to greater poverty, poorer health, more violence and disintegration of social life for the affected peoples.

Consequently, both governments and business should work together to ensure that the rights of indigenous groups are protected. In 2007, the United Nations Human Rights Council published its Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a non-binding report which emphasizes that “the responsibility to respect human rights is a global standard of expected conduct for all business enterprises wherever they operate”. The 2008 UN 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework rests on three pillars:
● The state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication
● The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address adverse impacts that occur
● Greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.

Any business operations that may affect tribal and indigenous peoples should take place in a transparent and consensual manner. Peoples affected should receive appropriate compensation and/or profits, or otherwise benefit. Finally, if the land concerned is occupied by isolated or 'uncontacted' tribal peoples, companies must respect that the land belongs to these people (who might chose to reject contact) and recognise that it should not be used for developments of any kind.

Indigenous people

Generally 'indigenous people' are those that have historically belonged to a particular region or country, before its colonization or transformation into a nation state. They retain different, often unique, social, cultural, linguistic, political and economic characteristics and institutions from those of the dominant culture of that region or state. This is irrespective of their legal status. There is no single, universally accepted definition but the four most often invoked elements are:
● A priority in time
● Self-identification
● The voluntary perpetuation of cultural distinctiveness, and
● An experience of subjugation, marginalisation and dispossession.

Tribal peoples

'Tribal peoples', in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169, are peoples in independent countries whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations.

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) “apply to all States and to all business enterprises, both transnational and others, regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership and structure.” These principles establish that all businesses have an explicit role in the realisation of human rights through a responsibility to respect them and to takes steps to avoid infringing the rights of others and to address any adverse human impact as a result of their corporate activity. It is referred to as the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework.

Answering YES

All Businesses MUST

State their business or business sector

Describe any relationship they have with tribal and indigenous peoples and the purpose it serves

Describe the consultations and negotiations they have had with the communities

Explain the impact of their operations on tribal and indigenous peoples

All Businesses MAY

Describe any specific measures they have taken to benefit or compensate tribal or indigenous peoples

Answering NO

All Businesses MUST

State their business or business sector

Explain why they do not or cannot answer YES to this question, listing the business reasons, any mitigating circumstances or other reasons that apply

All Businesses MAY

Indicate any relevant practices and policies, even if they do not fully address the specifications for answering YES

Mention any future intentions regarding this issue

Answering NOT APPLICABLE

All Businesses MUST

State their business or business sector

Confirm that they have no proposed or current operations that directly or indirectly affect tribal and indigenous peoples

DON'T KNOW is not a permissible answer to this question

Version 1

To receive a score of 'Excellent'

Consistently supports indigenous peoples

Examples of policies and practices which may support an EXCELLENT statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Statement on philosophy or values that drive steps to indigenous and tribal peoples
  2. Consistently takes active measures to engage with and protect the interests of indigenous people
  3. Established relationship with other stakeholders working in this issue
  4. Communicate practices to all staff and stakeholders
  5. Guidelines comply with international regulations
  6. Indigenous people are represented in higher management positions
  7. Significant capital investment into indigenous and tribal peoples
  8. Track record of diverse working environment
To receive a score of 'Good'

Actively supports indigenous peoples

Examples of policies and practices which may support a GOOD statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Statement on philosophy or values that drive steps to support indigenous peoples
  2. Evident practices to ensure operations do not disadvantage indigenous or tribal peoples
  3. Policies to respect indigenous and tribal peoples are regularly communicated to all staff
  4. Are staff fully engaged across the business
  5. Compliant with international regulations
To receive a score of 'Okay'

Aware of the issue and taking ad hoc steps or not applicable to the business sector

Examples of policies and practices which may support an OKAY statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Not engaged in business activity in areas with indigenous and/or tribal people
  2. Ad hoc efforts to respect the human, land, culture and intellectual property rights of tribal and indigenous peoples
  3. Adapting other policies, such as anti-discrimination policy to protect tribal and indigenous peoples
To receive a score of 'Poor'

The business acknowledges performance below expectations or no action evident

Examples of policies and practices which may support a POOR statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Statement of future intent to improve
  2. No apparent understanding of the issues surrounding indigenous peoples
  3. No evidence of practices or policies to prevent discrimination against indigenous peoples