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Spring 2025 Course

Indigenous Peoples and International Law

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: Last Class Take-Home

This course explores the developments in international law pertaining to Indigenous peoples rights. The issue of Indigenous populations and Indigenous rights strike at the heart of the international statist system as their claims and the relevant normative framework question the legitimacy of states and state sovereignty. Through the standard setting mechanism of the UN international human rights system, a normative framework of indigenous peoples’ rights was endorsed by the UN General Assembly almost two decades ago. Also, international human rights law has been for many Indigenous peoples transformative and emancipatory. There are however limitations to this framework and this course will scrutinise the efficacy of the UN human rights system, the UN Indigenous mechanisms and the limitations of the right to self-determination. This course will consider the advocacy of Indigenous peoples over many decades and the substantive achievements of this advocacy in international law. It will adopt a critical lens in which to assess how effective this UN infrastructure, the DRIP framework and Indigenous advocacy internationally has been in terms of real impact on the ground in communities.

Note: This course will meet over six weeks, starting the week of March 10.