Peru’s Congress has taken an important step toward incorporating¬† the International Labor Organisation’s convention on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (ILO 169) into law, since the convention was ratified in 1994.
Although broadly welcomed as an “historic moment” (the enabling act was passed unanimously) a key question has yet to be answered: will communities be able to enforce the principle of “Free, Prior Informed Consent” (FPIC) when confronted with proposals they reject? Is it likely that mining companies will respect not just “how” – but also “if”-¬† there should be operations on indigenous and campesino lands and in their territories?
Already some in Peru’s media have leaped to assure members of Peru’s business sector – especially mining and oil companies – that the new law will not grant a right to veto projects.
Among London-listed companies active in Peru are Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata. London-registered Monterrico Metals, now owned by China’s Zijin Mining, has been mired in controversy in the north of the country for years.