Special Issue "Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Challenges and Opportunities"

A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Rights Issues".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2022) | Viewed by 10154

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Noelle Higgins
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Law, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland
Interests: public international law; language rights; cultural rights; international criminal law; minority identity
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Gerard Maguire
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Law, Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Interests: the rights of Indigenous peoples; climate justice; education; language rights

Special Issue Information

The international legal framework seeks to promote and protect the rights of Indigenous peoples in a variety of ways. However, the rights of Indigenous peoples are regularly and systematically violated in States across the globe, and Indigenous peoples constitute the most vulnerable groups worldwide. The international legal framework on Indigenous peoples, which developed slowly and erratically from instruments of the International Labor Organization, has been codified by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), regarded as a reflection of customary international law. However, many flaws and gaps remain in the legal framework. The aim of this Special Issue is to provide an assessment of the international legal framework that seeks to protect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples and a critique of the processes and procedures within the UN system that are tasked with this role. The Special Issue seeks contributions that analyze key issues of concern to Indigenous peoples, including self-determination, representation, sovereignty, natural resources, cultural rights and heritage. Articles should address how the UN legal framework, processes and procedures have succeeded or failed in the realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Papers can include case studies, empirical research, as well as doctrinal research, all of which are equally welcome. Articles that take an inter-disciplinary approach, drawing on disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, politics and history, are also welcome.

Dear Colleagues,

(1)

  1. The rights of Indigenous peoples are violated in a variety of ways, from land grabbing, to language suppression to the infringement of the right to self-determination, among others. This Special Issue will address how the international law framework seeking to protect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples operates and how it has succeeded and failed. It will provide an assessment of the role of UN processes and procedures in the realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples.
  2. This Special Issue welcomes submissions from both doctrinal and socio-legal perspectives. Articles that include case studies on specific issues, rights and/or states are welcome, in addition to articles based on empirical and/or doctrinal research.
  3. The purpose of this Special Issue is to bring together academics working in the field of Indigenous rights to provide perspectives on a number of current issues facing Indigenous groups and on how the international legal framework and UN processes and procedures have contributed to the realization of Indigenous rights. It will provide an in-depth analysis of how the extant legal framework on the rights of Indigenous peoples operates and applies in practice.

(2)

The Special Issue will draw on, and develop, the seminal books on the rights of Indigenous peoples by Anaya, Indigenous Peoples in International Law (OUP, 2004) and Watson (ed.), Indigenous Peoples as Subjects of International Law (Routledge, 2018), as well as the work of other eminent scholars in the field, including Barelli, Holder and Corntassel.  It will also analyze research that focuses on the processes and procedures of the UN, e.g., Allen S and Xanthaki A, Reflections On The UN Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples (Hart Pub 2011) and Charters C and Stavenhagen R, Making The Declaration Work (IWGIA 2009). The Special Issue will draw on the interdisciplinary literature that seek to analyze, both practically and theoretically, the rights of Indigenous Peoples within the international legal system.

Dr. Noelle Higgins
Dr. Gerard Maguire
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Indigenous peoples
  • UNDRIP
  • self-determination
  • culture
  • sovereignty
  • land and natural resources
  • climate justice

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Indigenous Peoples and International Law in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Laws 2022, 11(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws11040055 - 06 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1617
Abstract
The adoption and ratification of new conventions and treaties under international law designed to protect both Indigenous peoples and the rights of nature have resulted in successful rulings by local, federal, and regional courts in favor of Indigenous groups engaged in class-action suits [...] Read more.
The adoption and ratification of new conventions and treaties under international law designed to protect both Indigenous peoples and the rights of nature have resulted in successful rulings by local, federal, and regional courts in favor of Indigenous groups engaged in class-action suits against their governments. In 2012 and 2019, respectively, the Sarayaku Kichwa and the Huaorani and Cofán peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon won cases against the Ecuadorian government for its lack of consultation on planned oil exploration. Such cases upholding the correct application of the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) under international treaties are rare; more often, Western judicial systems and environmental impact assessments have been used to serve corporate interests, as exemplified by the Aguinda v. Texaco case initiated in 1993 and the planned operations of Andes Petroleum in Orellana province 2019–2020, respectively. Indigenous and non-Western epistemologies tend to be incompatible with state-driven liberal secular capitalism—hence Indigenous efforts to prevent land seizures and the expansion of the extractive frontier into Indigenous territories in the Amazon rainforest have been undermined by the imperatives of modernization/developmentalism. These same forces have stimulated demand for gold, the legal and illegal mining of which, along the Napo river, have caused the contamination of the waters of the Amazon, threatening the health of Indigenous and non-indigenous riverine communities. Full article
Article
Changing Climate; Changing Life—Climate Change and Indigenous Intangible Cultural Heritage
Laws 2022, 11(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws11030047 - 02 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1795
Abstract
Climate change has already had a significant impact on both tangible and intangible cultural heritage globally. Climate change-induced impacts on tangible cultural heritage include historic buildings being damaged by increasing sea levels, and harm caused to coral reefs as a result of increased [...] Read more.
Climate change has already had a significant impact on both tangible and intangible cultural heritage globally. Climate change-induced impacts on tangible cultural heritage include historic buildings being damaged by increasing sea levels, and harm caused to coral reefs as a result of increased water temperatures to give just two examples. In the sphere of intangible cultural heritage, climate change can lead communities to abandon their environment and related customs and practices, influencing how they live, eat, work, socialize and worship. Given the spiritual connection between Indigenous Peoples and their land and nature they are disproportionately affected by climate change. This loss is inter-generational, as Indigenous practices and customs disappear when communities are forced to leave their traditional homes and lifestyles. This article seeks to assess how the international legal framework can potentially address the impact of climate change on Indigenous intangible heritage. It also review recent efforts by UNESCO to address climate change and its impacts on cultural heritage. Full article
Article
Indigenous Interests in Outer Space: Addressing the Conflict of Increasing Satellite Numbers with Indigenous Astronomy Practices
Laws 2022, 11(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws11020026 - 22 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2741
Abstract
The number of satellites in low Earth orbit is constantly increasing, particularly with the introduction of larger satellite constellations in recent times. This has resulted in a very crowded environment in Outer Space, which poses a number of challenges, not only to activities [...] Read more.
The number of satellites in low Earth orbit is constantly increasing, particularly with the introduction of larger satellite constellations in recent times. This has resulted in a very crowded environment in Outer Space, which poses a number of challenges, not only to activities in Outer Space but also to the activity of observing Outer Space. Prior to humankind’s entry into and progressive exploration of Outer Space, the practice of astronomy, what Venkatesan et al. describe as the “millennia-old ability to observe, discover and analyse the cosmos from the surface of the Earth”, linked humankind to Outer Space; in particular the Indigenous Peoples whose practice of astronomy is integral to their ways of life. The Indigenous relationship with Outer Space through astronomy requires protection to ensure the continuation of Indigenous culture. However, the aforementioned continual increase of satellites in Outer Space has started to disrupt the view of the night sky and its components from Earth, disrupting the practice of astronomy as a whole and, thus, Indigenous practice. Therefore, humankind’s future plans for Outer Space must be constructed with humankind as a whole in mind, including the astronomy practices essential to the way of life of many Indigenous Peoples. Full article
Article
Indigenous Customary Law and Norwegian Domestic Law: Scenes of a (Complementary or Mutually Exclusive) Marriage?
Laws 2022, 11(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws11020019 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3230
Abstract
Articles 27 and 34 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) recognise Indigenous Peoples’ laws. Art. 34 gives Indigenous Peoples the right to maintain their juridical systems or customs in accordance with international human rights standards. Although the [...] Read more.
Articles 27 and 34 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) recognise Indigenous Peoples’ laws. Art. 34 gives Indigenous Peoples the right to maintain their juridical systems or customs in accordance with international human rights standards. Although the UNDRIP is soft law, its core is arguably customary law and, therefore, a binding source of law. For States with Indigenous People, such as Norway, the UNDRIP is of paramount importance, from a legal, political, and not least moral perspective. This paper discusses norm hierarchies and tensions that are created in the meeting between the Indigenous customary law of the Sámi and statutory domestic Norwegian law. The introduction of customary, commonly unwritten, Indigenous rules into the judicial portfolio of a State creates an obvious challenge: what is their legal status? Can Indigenous law set aside domestic statutory norms? Some might argue that due to historical wrong, Indigenous law should always take precedence when domestic law conflicts with it. While Norwegian domestic law acknowledges the precedence of certain core human rights treaties over domestic laws, the same is not valid for Indigenous rights. How then should Indigenous custom be dealt with before a court of law, and how do the different legal systems relate to each other? This paper is foremost based on theoretical, to a lesser degree also on empirical material. It discusses on a general level the relationship between different legal systems within the same State and, on a specific level, the dealing of the Norwegian courts with Sámi Indigenous laws and customs. Full article
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