25 August 2011 Peru has taken “an important step forward” by approving a law compelling private companies to consult indigenous communities before going ahead with major projects such as mines, a United Nations human rights expert said today.
James Anaya, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said in a statement that the new law – adopted unanimously by the national Congress – is a step forward for indigenous people not just in Peru, but the wider Latin American region.
“I hope that this is indicative of a strong commitment by the Peruvian State to respond to the demands of indigenous peoples to be consulted about measures that directly affect them, and in particular about extractive industry projects in and around their territories,” he said.
The Special Rapporteur urged Peruvian President Ollanta Humala to promulgate the law and called on the Government to ensure that the law, once enacted, is properly implemented.
Mr. Anaya, who has served as Special Rapporteur since March 2008, works in an unpaid and independent capacity. He reports to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
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