The Struggles Indigenous Peoples Face to Obtain Justice Essay

The Struggles Indigenous Peoples Face to Obtain Justice Essay

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There are over 5000 Indigenous communities in over 70 different countries. They are defined collectively under the term Indigenous Peoples (IPs) by the Cobo Report but this term also allows for their diversity. They face numerous legal issues in attempting to achieve their rights, so they have collectively united to access the remedies available to them to achieve justice.

Broad characteristics to define them are highlighted in the Mick Dodson report and include: connection with territory that pre dates invasion, social and cultural traditions such as affinity with the land and colonisation, resistance and resurgence.

The issues facing IPs is the struggle to collectively achieve four rights which are recognised under in international law. Self identification is the ability for a group to choose if that person is a member of that group and for an individual to identify themselves as belonging to that group. The problems with achieving this right is demonstrated in the 2002 Good Weekend Article "A white shade of Black" which highlighted a court case in Tasmania to judge who could vote in ATSIC elections.

Cultural integrity is the right of IPs to practice and preserve cultural traditions such as affinity with the land while also allowing them to access modem innovations. This is seen through the Inuit people of where who maintain a traditional life but use snow mobiles for hunting. Self determination is described by the United Nations Charter as the ability to "freely pursue their economic, social and political development". However the term "peoples" refers to post WWII decolonisation and there are questions as to whether it can apply to IPs.

Sovereignty is the ability of a people to form a nation-state, which has c...

... middle of paper ...

...002 shows how ineffective intergovernmental organisations are for IPs issues.

East Timor gained sovereignty after decades of colonisations in March 2002.

It can be seen to be fairly ineffective due to resource efficiency as it took 25 years. Also, it needed human rights abuses to occur before UN decided to send an INTERFET force under Australia. The documentary "A birth of a nation" also highlights that political will from Australia to act only came after economic interest in the North West oil shelf.

Therefore it can be seen that the remedies available to IPs to gain their rights and save their legal issues in only effective when political will of nation states allows international law to be effective in their own states. Accessibility to UN is also a problem. So sovereignty is seen as the ability to remedy IPs issues and also as the obstacle to saving them.

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