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Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues closed its twenty-first session today, approving a raft of recommendations related to its theme — “Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent” — as well as three draft decisions to be sent to the Economic and Social Council for formal adoption.

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Speakers in the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today pressed United Nations bodies across the system to expand resources and opportunities for indigenous representatives so that they may participate in the Organization’s work, with many calling out practices that prevent their voices from being heard and advocating for a greater focus by the Forum on breaking down barriers.

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Indigenous peoples are routinely exposed to highly toxic substances left behind by reckless companies that poison their lands and waters with cyanide, mercury, lead and cadmium, the Special Rapporteur on the issue told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today, as participants engaged with three United Nations experts on ways to uphold their basic human rights on the international stage.

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While international standards guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination, territories and resources, these fundamental freedoms are trampled upon in the name of mining, logging, oil, gas exploration and even conservation deemed essential to national development, speakers told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today, laying out recommendations for transnational businesses to respect their traditional knowledge and inherent dignity.

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The explosive growth of extractive operations around the world often plays out on indigenous people’s lands without their consent, causing irreparable harm to their livelihoods, cultures, languages and lives, speakers told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today, as it opened its 2022 session amid calls to respect their free, prior and informed consent on the existential decisions uprooting their communities.

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Following two consecutive years of virtual sessions, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will take place this year in a hybrid format, open to in-person and online participation.  Running from 25 April to 6 May 2022, the twenty-first session of the Permanent Forum will focus on indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence, including free, prior and informed consent.