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From Individual to Collective Consent: The Case of Indigenous Peoples and undrip

In: International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
Author: Richard Healey1
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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.

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