The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Their Own Law
39 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2016
Date Written: August 31, 2015
The reader will become acquainted with the philosophical justification of the right of indigenous peoples to their own law. This contribution is philosophical-legal. It is not about human rights or international public law. I examine the theory of legal pluralism and practical issues relating to legal pluralism in light of the experiences of the Sami people in Scandinavia and Finland. I also look at the problems regarding ethos as a basis of every law and society, and support my arguments on this issue by reference to sociological, anthropological and cultural-ecological approaches and considerations. Finally, I would argue that a better way forward than is currently being pursued would be to recognise the validity of the idea of legal pluralism and indigenous customary law and to accept that it is more responsible to give indigenous peoples the chance to rule and govern on their own, on behalf of their own communities, on the basis of their own laws and for their own sake. The issue at stake is that of wider political autonomy or even independence: the independence of states understood not in terms of public international law but real independence in small communities of people.
Keywords: Indigenous Peoples; Sami; Own Law; Legal Pluralism; North
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