AIPP calls for greater respect for indigenous rights in the safeguards of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

AIPP calls for greater respect for indigenous rights in the safeguards of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Public Statement

23 October 2015 – Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact has called for greater respect for the rights of indigenous peoples inits comments [link to the letter] on the draft Environmental and Social Framework of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The comments endorsed by 119 organizations from 27 countries include recommendations for stronger safeguard for indigenous peoples.

Two-thirds of the estimated 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide are in Asia. Though indigenous peoples account for 5% of the global population, they comprise 15% of the poorest. The AIIB’s aims to fund infrastructure development and other projects to support regional and national development targets will have serious implications on the lives and well-being of millions of indigenous peoples in the region.The Government of China and Chinese companies, in particular, have huge investments in the territories of indigenous peoples with serious adverse impacts such as displacements, destruction of biodiversity and cultural heritage, and loss of livelihoods, among others.

While AIPP welcomes the draft environmental and social safeguards of AIIB, it calls for a more stringent requirement for the conduct of the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples in ensuring the respect for theirrights to their lands, territories and resources, self-determined development and cultural heritage. Projects such as large dams, mining, ports, railroads, biofuel plantations are now being implemented and targeted in the lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples as part of the economic integration of ASEAN and development targets of the rest of Asia. It is thus critical for the AIIB to provide a more meaningful and participatory consultation process with indigenous peoples’ representatives in the regionto ensure that its Environmental and Social Framework is responsive to the conditions and circumstances of indigenous peoples in the region and is fully aligned with respect to their rights as affirmed by international human rights instruments.

AIPP thus strongly recommends that key officials of the AIIB conduct a regional face-to-face meeting with duly selected indigenous peoples’ representatives and extends its cooperation in planning such consultation. Further, it has reiterated the civil society recommendations on the overall consultation process, including extension of the consultation period, use of regional languages and special attention to inclusion of vulnerable groups, among others.

For further inquiries:

Joan Carling, Secretary-General, AIPP, +66-(0)85-694-0100, joan@aippnet.org
Prabindra Shakya, Human Rights Campaign and Policy Advocacy Programmme Coordinator, AIPP, +66-(0)90-319-7751, prabin@aippnet.org
Download AIPP letter to AIIB