Digging for Rights: How Can International Human Rights Law Better Protect Indigenous Women from Extractive Industries?

Citation:

Morales, Sarah. 2019. "Digging for Rights: How Can International Human Rights Law Better Protect Indigenous Women from Extractive Industries?" Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 31 (1): 58-90.

Author: Sarah Morales

Abstract:

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
L’expansion des industries extractives dans les territoires des peuples autochtones a été et continue d’être un processus éprouvant pour les gouvernements, l’industrie et les peuples autochtones du monde entier. Bien que les avantages économiques liés au développement des ressources soient substantiels, on donne trop souvent priorité à ces considérations au lieu de voir les effets profonds et durables des répercussions pour les collectivités, sur le plan social et culturel, en particulier pour les nations autochtones. La recherche a démontré que ces répercussions sont aggravées quand les personnes se trouvent à la croisée de plusieurs collectivités, comme c’est le cas pour les femmes autochtones. Dans le présent article, on se demandera si les lois internationales concernant les droits de la personne peuvent ou non protéger efficacement les femmes et les filles autochtones contre les effets négatifs du développement de l’industrie extractive. En réfléchissant au droit à l’autodétermination, tel qu’il est présenté dans la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones, l’auteure soutient qu’à notre époque d’extraction croissante, la meilleure façon pour faire en sorte que les lois internationales protègent les droits des femmes autochtones est de prévoir un mécanisme qui rendra opérationnelles les lois et les coutumes autochtones. Pour cela, il faut faire de la place aux femmes autochtones dans les processus de consultation afin qu’elles y partagent leur savoir et qu’elles puissent en influencer réellement le cours. La promotion des droits procéduraux des femmes autochtones est la meilleure façon d’assurer la protection de leurs droits substantiels corolaires.
 
ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
The expansion of extractive industries into the territories of Indigenous peoples has been, and continues to be, a challenging process for governments, industry, and Indigenous peoples all over the world. While the economic benefits of resource development are important, too often these considerations are emphasized at the expense of appreciating the deep and lasting social and cultural effects of these impacts on communities, in particular, Indigenous communities. Research has illustrated that these impacts are compounded when one considers those individuals at the intersection of these communities, such as Indigenous women. This article will examine whether or not international human rights law can effectively protect Indigenous women and girls from the negative effects of extractive industry development. By focusing on the right to self-determination, as captured by the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples, it argues that the most effective way international law can work to protect Indigenous women in this period of increased extractive development is by providing a mechanism through which Indigenous laws and practices can be operationalized. This means creating space during consultative processes for Indigenous women to share their knowledge and influence the process in a meaningful way. The promotion of the procedural rights of Indigenous women is the best way to ensure the protection of their correlating substantive rights.

Topics: Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, International Law, International Humanitarian Law IHL, International Organizations, Political Economies, Rights, Indigenous Rights

Year: 2019

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