Criminology, Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples

CRIME AND HUMAN RIGHTS, Parmentier, and E. G. M. Weitekamp, eds., pp. 239-263, Elsevier, Oxford, 2007

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2008-32

24 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2009

See all articles by Chris Cunneen

Chris Cunneen

Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research,University of Technology Sydney; University of New South Wales, School of Social Sciences; James Cook University - Cairns Campus

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 9, 2008

Abstract

Criminology, human rights and Indigenous peoples: how do we understand the connections between these three terms? For too long the voices arguing to connect criminology with human rights were isolated and marginalized. At best, the possible links were seen as peripheral to the main concerns of criminology. At worst, bringing a human rights understanding to definitions of crime and criminal justice was seen as undermining criminology’s search for scientific status. And as for Indigenous people? They were seen as part of the ‘‘crime problem’’, a segment of the problem population whose criminality needed explanation. Human rights apparently had nothing to do with their offending behaviour.

However, over the last decade or so the intellectual terrain has shifted significantly. As a result of these developments we can see at least three strands to how we might bring criminology to a more intellectually robust understanding of Indigenous people and human rights. The first point is that Indigenous people have been victims of profound historical injustices and abuses of human rights which can be at least partially understood as state crime. The second point is that contemporary justice systems are often seen in the context of the abuse of Indigenous people’s human rights. The third strand is an analysis of how claims to specific Indigenous rights impact on current criminal justice processes, and how those claims might broaden our understanding of reform and change.

Keywords: Criminal Law and Procedure, human rights and Indigenous peoples

Suggested Citation

Cunneen, Chris, Criminology, Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples (May 9, 2008). CRIME AND HUMAN RIGHTS, Parmentier, and E. G. M. Weitekamp, eds., pp. 239-263, Elsevier, Oxford, 2007; UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2008-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1392598

Chris Cunneen (Contact Author)

Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research,University of Technology Sydney ( email )

15 Broadway, Ultimo
PO Box 123
Sydney, NSW 2007
Australia

University of New South Wales, School of Social Sciences ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

James Cook University - Cairns Campus ( email )

PO Box 6811
Cairns, Queensland 4870
Australia

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