Protecting Indigenous Rights: Consultation and Consent

Aboriginal Rights in International Law

BC Mining Issue:BC and Canada do not legally recognize key Aboriginal rights that are affirmed in International law, even though Canada had signed several international Conventions that requires protection of these rights.

Fair Mining Best Practice:Amend BC mining law to the fulfill the requirements contained in the international covenants and declarations signed by Canada that recognize indigenous rights, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous rights can be defined as “flowing from Indigenous peoples’ historic and sacred relationship with their territories.” These rights are derived from Indigenous laws, cultural practices, customs, and forms of governance.

In Canada there are approximately 1,200 Indigenous communities within 200 km of mining activities.

Canada has signed three relevant international human rights agreements:

  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms for Racial Discrimination (ICERD)

As a signatory to these agreements, Canada is bound to respect the unique relationship that Indigenous peoples have with the land and to protect Indigenous peoples rights to use, protect and own these lands. Canada is also a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which enshrines the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

These agreements mean that First Nations peoples’ of Canada have the collective rights of self-determination and the individual rights to a voice in any policies that threaten to affect their lands and way of life.



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