Fragmentation and Integration in Human Rights Law
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Fragmentation and Integration in Human Rights Law

Users’ Perspectives

Edited by Eva Brems and Saïla Ouald-Chaib

From the perspective of rights holders and duty bearers, human rights law appears as an increasingly complex field of law, consisting of different levels, actors and norms. The fragmentation of human rights law has resulted in an uncoordinated legal architecture that may in some circumstances create obstacles for effective human rights protection. Against this background, this volume examines how to make sense – in both theoretical and practical terms - of these multiple layers of human rights law through which human rights users have to navigate.
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Chapter 3: Fragmentation, harmonization and the users’ perspective: the Munduruku peoples’ view on land and the developing standards on indigenous peoples’ land rights

Derek Inman, Stefaan Smis and Edson ‘Krenak’ Dorneles de Andrade


The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which, alongside recognising a wide range of basic human and fundamental freedoms for indigenous peoples, devoted a number of provisions to outlining their inalienable collective right to the ownership, use, and control of lands, territories, and natural resources, confirmed the international community’s recognition that land rights are of crucial importance for indigenous peoples. While the direct participation of indigenous groups in the negotiation process offers a high level of legitimacy to the issues raised in the UNDRIP what such participation should also offer is a users’ perspective on such issues. However, is this the case? Prior to, and since the adoption of, the UNDRIP, indigenous peoples’ land rights have been a matter of concern at a number of international human rights forums and regional human rights bodies in a fragmented manner. Are indigenous peoples’ perspectives adequately represented in these developments? Despite the fragmentation, are the developments inter-connected through the inclusion of the users’ perspective? This chapter will begin by analysing a users’ perspective on land and rights, which, in this case, are the Munduruku of Brazil. Next, it will outline the developments in the area of indigenous peoples’ land rights, highlighting instances where a users’ perspective is included, and determining if they reflect the users’ perspective we have teased out from our investigation into the perspectives of the Munduruku. Finally, the chapter examine recent developments where harmonization and integration seem to have replaced fragmentation, putting forth a common understanding and protection standard, all the while reflecting the desires of indigenous peoples.

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