Over the last three decades, extractive conflicts in Latin America have become increasingly violent. Hundreds of Indigenous activists have been murdered for defending their land against extractive interests. The international formula for addressing this type of conflict is for governments to conduct prior consultation procedures with Indigenous communities before affecting indigenous territories. However, the misuse of consultations by governments and companies to legitimize ecologically destructive projects has led a sector of Indigenous organizations to reject prior consultation, while others continue advocating for free, prior, and informed consent. We compare two cases of Indigenous communities from Oaxaca and Yucatán in Mexico who have made diverse use of prior consultation with positive results for their communities. We underline the conditions under which Indigenous leaders can use these procedures for community empowerment. We emphasize that prior consultation fulfills its primary role when it enables Indigenous participants to achieve their goals rather than serving merely as a bureaucratic procedure that validates the economic agenda of a state. We argue that it is through Indigenous empowerment that participatory procedures can create new venues for peacebuilding within Indigenous territories.
Torres-Wong, Marcela and Méndez-García, Elia
"Fixing Prior Consultation for Indigenous Empowerment,"
The Journal of Social Encounters:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/social_encounters/vol7/iss1/6
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