On Fragile Architecture: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Context of Human Rights

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Abstract

This article traces the development of the international human rights and international indigenous rights movements, with a particular eye towards their points of convergence and divergence and the extent to which each has influenced the other. Focusing on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it argues that the document, while apparently pushing the envelope in its articulation of self-determination and collective rights, also represents the continued power and persistence of an international human rights paradigm that eschews strong forms of indigenous self-determination and privileges individual civil and political rights. In this sense, it signifies the continued limitation of human rights, especially in terms of the recognition of collective rights, in a post-Cold War era in which a particular form of human rights has become the lingua franca of both state and non-state actors.

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