Free, prior and informed consent in Myanmar

International Alert co-hosted a roundtable discussion on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)[1] with the Centre for Economic and Social Development-Myanmar Development Resource Institute in Yangon, Myanmar on 6th October 2012.

This is part of their ‘Ensuring responsible and conflict-sensitive investments and businesses through multistakeholder collaboration in Southeast Asia’ project, which is also supported by the ASEAN Programme Fund.

The debate focused on providing space for open discussion and exchange among multi-stakeholders, particularly of investments and businesses operating or planning to invest in ethnic areas.

Attorney Zha-Zha Maguad from the Philippines Environmental Legal Assistance Centre spoke about the Philippines Indigenous People’s Rights Act and challenges faced in implementing FPIC.

Maw Htun Aung of SPECTRUM, Myanmar discussed the raising of community awareness on their right to be consulted on investments in their communities.

Myanmar ethnic MPs discussed the transition process currently taking place in their country and reminded the gathering of the need for inclusivity if planned reforms were to work.

[1] 'Free, prior and informed consent recognizes indigenous peoples’ inherent and prior rights to their lands and resources and respects their legitimate authority to require that third parties enter into an equal and respectful relationship with them, based on the principle of informed consent'. See: Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Twenty-second session, 19-13 July 2004, p.5.