A Voice in the Development of Amazonia: The Constitutional Rights to Participation of Indigenous Peoples
This chapter looks at Indigenous rights in Amazon countries, comparing the substantive law with its practical implementation. While constitutions evidence a clear intent to protect Indigenous groups, enforcement is often problematic, and the rights of Indigenous populations have rarely been vindicated. Through an analysis of some case studies in Amazonia, such as the Chevron oil spill in Ecuador, the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, and the TIPNIS Project in Bolivia, this chapter discusses whether these constitutional provisions are being respected. Almost 400 Indigenous groups currently live throughout the Amazon region, which is shared by nine countries. Due to their close proximity to the region’s rich natural resources, Indigenous groups are some of the most affected populations by infrastructure projects and other initiatives to promote socio-economic development. These groups have suffered marginalization by their governments, and were traditionally excluded from the approval process of these projects. However, after a series of constitutional revisions, most countries embraced provisions recognizing Indigenous rights and environmental protections, including the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent and the right to participation. The recognition of constitutional environmental rights for Indigenous communities was the first step in a long battle to ensure the voices of Indigenous groups are heard, both politically and in terms of economic development plans. Although Indigenous groups and their lands are constitutionally protected, actually putting these rights into practice has been proven a challenge. In most cases, states have difficulty redressing environmentally harmful practices when it conflicts with plans for economic development.
Indigenous Peoples, Territorial Management, Regional Development, Ethnodevelopment, Amazon Rainforest and Sustainability, Environmental Geography
Comparative and Foreign Law | Environmental Law | International Law | Law
Maria Antonia Tigre & Sarah C. Slinger, A Voice in the Development of Amazonia: The Constitutional Rights to Participation of Indigenous Peoples, in Indigenous Amazonia: Regional Issues & Territorial Dynamics 7, 37 (Walter Leal Filho, Victor T. King & Ismar Borges de Lima eds., 2020).