Q&A with James Anaya on Implementing Prior Consent with Indigenous Peoples

Most of the questions relate to implementation of this standard in Latin America, but his answers to the final two questions were particularly interesting to me, and applicable to many nations that are being called on to implement the prior consent standard.

Q: Do you think the state would lose its sovereignty if an indigenous community has the last word on whether or not an investment project can be undertaken on their territory?

A: The state does not lose its sovereignty if it respects human rights or indigenous rights. It has to comply with these rules to respect those rights; the state cannot do whatever it wants.

I would say that the respect of these rights is a way of ensuring that this sovereignty is exercised. When the state respects human rights, it exercises its sovereignty, because it is acting in favour of its citizens and peoples.

Q: Nevertheless, there has been a loss of trust in governments. What can be done to ensure legitimate consultations and to open up dialogue?

A: The mistrust and prejudice need to be overcome. It is a matter of creating open processes where indigenous peoples can voice their opinions and influence decisions, and where there is the necessary will to seek consensus.

The problem is that sometimes there is a belief that consent is about saying yes or no, about who wins. Consent is linked to consultation; the purpose of consultation is to reach consent, to reach consensus. It is not a question of one side imposing its opinion on the other.

3 thoughts on “Q&A with James Anaya on Implementing Prior Consent with Indigenous Peoples

  1. Carol Good Bear June 9, 2013 / 10:22 am

    Good article, can turtle talk write about what’s news worthy on my homelands fort berth old new town North Dakota

  2. Victoria Sweet June 10, 2013 / 8:32 am

    Thank you. The various contributors on Turtle Talk post articles and announcements that we come across that seem to be newsworthy to the readers of this blog. If you do a search on our site for Fort Berthold, you will see a number articles that have been posted about things that are happening there. However, it has been awhile since anything has been posted. If you know of any articles that you think would be important to post, please send us a link. It is easy to miss an important story. I appreciate your suggestion.

Comments are closed.