Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Between Legal Ambiguity and Political Agency

Papillon, Martin Leydet, Dominique

Introduction

The principle of free, prior and informed consent (fpic) is increasingly considered a core element of the international Indigenous rights regime. From its early iteration in the 1989 Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ilo) to its more robust articulation in the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (undrip),1 fpic has taken on central importance in relations between Indigenous peoples and states, particularly in the context of natural resource governance. However, like other concepts found in fundamental laws such as constitutions or international treaties, fpic is the product of a negotiated compromise and its sometimes ambiguous wording is subject to different interpretations. To this day theorists and practitioners from around the world, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, continue to debate its precise meaning and implications.2 Empirical studies looking at states policies and practices, from Canada and Australia to Latin America, also suggest wide variations in its operationalisation.3


Papillon, M., Leclair, J. et Leydet, D. (2020). “Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Between Legal Ambiguity and Political Agency”, International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. vol. 27, no 2, p. 223-232. doi.org/10.1163/15718115-02702015

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