From Individual to Collective Consent: The Case of Indigenous Peoples and UNDRIP
International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, 13 September 2019
Much of the debate around requirements for the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples has focused on enabling indigenous communities to participate in various forms of democratic decision-making alongside the state and other actors. Against this backdrop, this article sets out to defend three claims. The first two of these claims are conceptual in nature: (i) Giving (collective) consent and participating in the making of (collective) decisions are distinct activities; (ii) Despite some scepticism, there is a coherent conception of collective consent available to us, continuous with the notion of individual consent familiar from discussions in medical and sexual ethics. The third claim is normative: (iii) Participants in debates about free, prior, and informed consent must keep this distinction in view. That is because a group’s ability to give or withhold consent, and not only participate in making decisions, will play an important role in realising that collectives’ right to self-determination.
Editor’s note: The UNDRIP is the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples