Aboriginal(Ising) International Law and Other Centres of Power
Watson, Irene (2011) 'Aboriginal(ising) International Law and Other Centres of Power', Griffith Law Review, vol. 20(3), pp. 619-640
23 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2011
The recognition of Indigenous peoples has been a subject of vigorous debate in international law and relations for more than five centuries, and in contemporary times it remains an unresolved dilemma. The irresolution remains even though the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) sets out minimum standards for Indigenous rights and much work has been done by UN bodies and human rights experts. In spite of these developments, the reality embodies ongoing violations of Indigenous peoples' rights across the globe. This article reviews the contemporary relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and explores how those relations continue to be shaped by the dynamics of power - dynamics that centre western knowledges and understandings. This article also examines the resulting power imbalances and how those imbalances might be redressed through an approach that centres Aboriginal knowledges, understandings and perspectives on the nature of Aboriginality and the right to be Aboriginal. The ultimate goal is to assess how the centring of Aboriginal perspectives would assist the process of building more equitable relationships based upon principles of coexistence, and how such a process would go beyond the translation of Aboriginal rights done by Western interpreters. Essential to it is the capacity for peoples to determine and define their sense of self and Aboriginality. This article reviews developments in international law and approaches to the perceptions of Aboriginality and associated rights.
Keywords: Aboriginal people, indigenous people, international law, rights
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