Looking Forward Looking Back: Customary International Law, Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples (2020)
Two of the most laudable achievements of human rights are the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Aside from advancing human rights, both are examples of soft law. For the UNDRIP, this soft law status has generated significant controversy which is evocative of the earlier debate surrounding the legal status of the UDHR. Yet unexamined, this article analyses this contemporary controversy surrounding the UNDRIP in light of the historical debate surrounding the legal status of the UDHR. Fleshing out points of convergence and divergence, these debates unearth narratives which shed light on the claims and advocacy strategies of Indigenous Peoples and the role of customary international law within human rights. Ultimately, it reveals that these narratives do little to secure the enforcement of indigenous rights.
CitationEsterling S (2020). Looking Forward Looking Back: Customary International Law, Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. 28(1). 1-26.
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KeywordsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights; United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; customary international law; Indigenous Peoples
ANZSRC Fields of Research48 - Law and legal studies::4803 - International and comparative law::480307 - International humanitarian and human rights law
45 - Indigenous studies::4519 - Other Indigenous data, methodologies and global Indigenous studies::451904 - Global Indigenous studies peoples, society and community
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