Research Handbook on International Human Rights Law
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Research Handbook on International Human Rights Law

Edited by Sarah Joseph and Adam McBeth

This innovative and timely Handbook brings together the work of 25 leading human rights scholars from all over the world to consider a broad range of human rights topics.
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Chapter 19: DRIP Feed: The Slow Reconstruction of Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples

Melissa Castan


19. DRIP feed: the slow reconstruction of selfdetermination for Indigenous peoples Melissa Castan* 1 Introduction After centuries of wavering between benign neglect and outright hostility, the international arena, and in particular the institution of the United Nations, has now turned its attention to the needs and desires of Indigenous peoples. Three decades of increasing interest in Indigenous peoples, their issues, needs and human rights, have culminated in the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (‘the Declaration’ or ‘DRIP’) by the United Nations General Assembly in late 2007.1 The adoption of the Declaration is seen by many as a fundamental affirmation of the identity and protection of Indigenous people, and indeed necessary to their very survival.2 However, the adoption of the Declaration is not the conclusion of an era of focus and development of international law but, rather, the culmination of a period of dynamic change; the transition from ‘object’ to ‘subject’ of international law is complete.3 Many outstanding areas of debate about Indigenous peoples’ rights are not concluded, and some debates are still evolving, particularly on those issues revolving around the meaning of self-determination, the emerging standard requiring full prior and informed consent and the relationship between collective and individual rights. In many respects, the ongoing tension over the obligations of states to accord full recognition of these human rights for their Indigenous people centres on the challenges presented by the different meanings attributed to the * The author would like to thank David Yarrow and Jay...

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