Peru Enacts Law of Prior Consultation with Indigenous Peoples

October 9th, 2011   •   no comments   

President Humala of Peru signed the “Law of Prior Consultation with Indigenous and Original Peoples” into law on September 6, 2011. It will comes into force 90 days from its publication in Peru’s Official Gazette. This law domestically implements and referentially incorporates the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, which Peru ratified in 1994.

The law provides that it is to be interpreted in accordance with the obligations established under ILO 169. As such, the Peru law does not establish a blanket veto right over government measures or development projects that affect indigenous peoples’ collective rights, but it may prohibit certain actions (e.g. forced relocation from indigenous territories). As the law’s name states, it establishes the indigenous right of “prior consultation” rather than “prior consent”. However, it mandates and sets out a process of good faith and meaningful consultation by the State with indigenous peoples, with the ultimate objective to try and find an accommodation between the States’ interests and indigenous peoples rights – i.e. consent by the affected indigenous peoples. A major weakness of the law is that it doesn’t include conflict resolution provisions in the event that the parties can’t reach an accommodation – in this sense, it gives the State, rather than indigenous peoples, the last word. (Read the Spanish version of the law) and check this website in the near future for the English version