UN: Mining must respect indigenous rights
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.