Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business

Edited by Surya Deva and David Birchall

This authoritative Research Handbook brings together leading international scholars and practitioners to provide in-depth analysis of some of the most hotly debated topics and issues concerning the interface of human rights and business. Offering critical insights on prominent strands of research within the field of business and human rights, this comprehensive Research Handbook examines key challenges and potential solutions in the field.
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Chapter 16: Business and indigenous peoples human rights

Jernej Letnar Černič


Indigenous peoples’ individual and collective rights have on many occasions in the past been undermined by adverse impacts of business activities. It is therefore beyond any doubt that corporations can negatively affect the enjoyment of indigenous peoples’ rights. However, their potential adverse impacts are not coupled with the corresponding obligations either in international law or in domestic law. Only a handful of domestic systems and a few scattered international law sources (in)directly provide for corporate obligations concerning indigenous people’s rights. This chapter studies existing and emerging corporate obligations under indigenous peoples’ human rights and explores legal and quasi-legal avenues for their enforcement. Domestic communities should acknowledge the specificities of the collective and individual rights of indigenous peoples. Do corporations have normative obligations to observe indigenous peoples’ human rights? If so, what are their sources and the nature and scope of such obligations? What happens when corporations infringe on and deprive indigenous people of their rights? Where can indigenous peoples bring claims for violations of their rights?

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