Free, Prior, and Informed Consent: Not the Right it is Made Out to Be


The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), along with treaties, instruments, and decisions of international law, recognizes that indigenous peoples have the right to give "free, prior, and informed consent" to legislation and development affecting their lands, natural resources, and other interests, and to receive remedies for losses of property taken without such consent.  With approximately 150 nations, including the United States, endorsing the UNDRIP, this requirement gives rise to emerging standards, obligations, and opportunities – and creates considerable uncertainty-- for governments, industries, and investors who work with indigenous peoples.

Robert T. Coulter, executive director of the Center, prepared the following presentation at the University of Colorado Law School’s forum Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Pathways for a New Millenium, held October 31, 2013. 

Coulter states the “free, prior, informed consent approach to indigenous rights is backward, confusing, and in practice, it is a disservice to indigenous peoples.” Click here to read more.