Published: July 26, 2017
Carla Fredericks

The Albany Law Review recently published an article written by Professor Carla Fredericks, "Operationalizing Free, Prior, and Informed Consent." The introduction is below. Read the full article in the Albany Law Review.

Fredericks is associate clinical professor and director of the Indian Law Clinic and American Indian Law Program at Colorado Law.

I. Introduction

The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”) has acknowledged varying methods in which international actors can protect, respect, and  remedy the rights of indigenous peoples. One  of  these  methods  is  the  concept  of  free, prior, and informed consent (“FPIC”) as described in Articles 10, 19, 28 and 29 of the UNDRIP. As this article discusses, there has been much debate in the international community over the legal status of the UNDRIP, and member states have done little to implement it. In applied contexts, many entities such as extractive industries and conservation groups are aware of risks inherent in not soliciting FPIC and have endeavored to create their own FPIC protocols when interacting with indigenous peoples. At present, though, there is an absence of FPIC protocol that has been developed by indigenous peoples themselves. A tribal FPIC law and protocol may serve as a starting point and model to implement a portion of the UNDRIP and actualize these rights for the development or use of culture, lands, territories, and resources. This article contends that indigenous peoples must develop and implement their own FPIC protocol in order to assert their human rights, and offers a model under United States law for Indian tribes to assert their sovereign and human rights without waiting for member state implementation.