Collective indigenous rights and the environment

Authored by: Shawkat Alam

Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law

Print publication date:  September  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415687171
eBook ISBN: 9780203093474
Adobe ISBN: 9781136202872


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This chapter outlines the connections between Indigenous peoples and their environments, and how this relationship impacts upon the realisation of their collective human rights. It explores the emergence of the notion of collective rights, and highlights the interdependence of the right to self-determination, land rights and cultural rights. It analyses existing international law and uses the example of climate change to examine the impact of environmental damage on Indigenous peoples’ rights. It is concluded that a searching reappraisal of current approaches to Indigenous peoples’ rights is necessary, and recognition of the unique vulnerability of indigenous collective rights to environmental degradation needs greater international attention.

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