International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples: The Move Toward the Multicultural State

50 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2009

See all articles by S. James Anaya

S. James Anaya

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: October 7, 2009


The article was written as part of the Journal’s Symposium - Comparative Analysis: Culture, Customs and Traditions of Indigenous Peoples. Written in 2004, it predates the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It references that document and the Organization of American States Declaration in their draft forms, as well as other human rights documents such as ILO Convention 169, and various human rights institutions, as it delineates the broad contours and sources of the international human rights regime relative to Indigenous Peoples. At the core of that regime, the author notes, are the right to equality and its mirror norm of non-discrimination. Affirmation of cultural identity, the right to participatory engagement with the states in which they reside, and rights related to land and natural resources as well as customary law and self-governance are all discussed in the article. Modern developments in these areas of international human rights law built on a foundation of the ideals of the Indigenous Peoples themselves, lead the author to hope for “political ordering that simultaneously embraces unity and diversity on the basis of equality.”

Keywords: International Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, Natural Resources, Self-determination

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Anaya, S. James, International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples: The Move Toward the Multicultural State (October 7, 2009). Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 21, p. 13, 2004, Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No 09-34, Available at SSRN:

S. James Anaya (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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