Indigenous peoples' legal subjectivity within environmental protection has become more recognized within human rights frameworks. This chapter presents three reasons why Indigenous peoples should be empowered as legal subjects in environmental protection. First, Indigenous peoples should be recognized as rights holders with particular environmental guarantees, both substantive and procedural. Second, the strengthening of Indigenous peoples' environmental agency is needed because measures to protect the environment can violate their rights. In particular, the protection of cultural heritage sites may be carried out without consultation or consideration of its impacts on Indigenous peoples. Measures aimed at the reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) have also led to violations of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Third, Indigenous peoples' knowledge of the environment is based on longstanding sustainable practices on their traditional lands.
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