Mining Must Respect Indigenous Peoples´ Rights; UN Official
MELBOURNE, Australia -- A top United Nations official is investigating how governments can force mining companies into adopting indigenous rights standards from their headquarters, even when operating on foreign soil.
Photo: UN Special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Professor S. James Anaya.
James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people,
says it is important to stop multinational companies from working under varying
levels of human rights standards.
"One of the things I'm exploring is to what extent they hold themselves
to the same standards, or are held to the same standards," he said in
Melbourne on Tuesday.
He said an Australian mining company should have to meet Australian
standards - or at least the prevailing international standard - no matter where
a mining site may be located.
"They should be subject to the standards, and I would say to the
minimum to the standards of the home country," he said.
"One of the things I'm actually looking at is to what extent home
country governments can exert regulatory control over the activities of
companies operating outside of the country.
"That is something that needs to be explored further and can really
help indigenous peoples in those countries."
Mr Anaya is concluding a two-day round table with indigenous communities,
the federal government and mining industry representatives as part of a global
study on how the resources industry is affecting indigenous people.
There are similar problems and conditions between mining companies and
indigenous people in developed countries, from Canada to Australia, he said.
The UN study, when released, will eventually be used to help create
worldwide guidelines for all mining companies.
Published by: Magne Ove Varsi