International Investments and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: report

11 August 2016
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
To the HRC at its 33rd session



In the Special Rapporteur’s report to the 70th session of the General Assembly framed her concerns in relation to international bilateral investment treaties (BITs), and investment protection chapters of multilateral and regional free trade agreements, collectively referred to as International Investment Agreements (IIAs).

The report pointed to issues in the current system of IIAs and made a series of recommendations in relation to how they could be addressed to ensure respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. Building on these recommendations within the framework of her ongoing work in the area of IIAs, the Special Rapporteur conducted a further investigation into this issue and presented the report in September 2016.


This report is the second of three that the Rapporteur dedicates to this issue. She has previously introduced the topic and touched on some of the impacts of international investment agreements on indigenous peoples’ rights and the more systemic issues associated with the international investment law regime. In this report, she seeks to further contextualise and examine those impacts by focusing on cases involving such agreements and rights.

In doing so, the Special Rapporteur seeks to promote coherence in international investment law and international human rights law and ensure that State fulfilment of duties pertaining to indigenous peoples’ rights is not obstructed.

Inputs received

Questionnaires for States, Civil Society Organisations and Indigenous Peoples were made available and responses requested by 11 May 2016.