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This chapter explores three connected approaches to the protection of indigenous peoples and their rights in Great Britain’s empire that emerged in the wake of slave emancipation. The House of Commons Select Committee on Aborigines (1835–7) published a report described as a ‘blueprint’ for imperial humanitarians throughout the rest of the century. It inspired the 1837 establishment of two new bodies, each dominated by Dr Thomas Hodgkin, which advocated the protection of indigenous peoples in Britain’s empire: the Society of Friends’ Committee on Aborigines and the better-known Aborigines’ Protection Society. The Friends’ committee endured for twenty-five years, drew on British Quakers’ experience of anti-slavery activism and disbursed a substantial budget, but had a limited impact. The Aborigines’ Protection Society proved better at maintaining and drawing on networks that incorporated government, settlers, indigenous people, missionaries and humanitarian activists.
During the early Victorian era, British settler colonialism dramatically intensified and expanded in Southern Africa, British North America, New Zealand and Australia. The granting of self-government to settler colonizers was accompanied by the transfer of responsibility for indigenous affairs from imperial to colonial governments in the 1850s and 1860s. The Aborigines’ Protection Society recognized the threat settler colonizers posed to indigenous populations. Its 1840 Outline of a System of Colonization revealed a universally applicable plan to ensure the protection, rights and civilization of indigenous peoples. This chapter analyses the society’s anxieties about unruly settlers, missionary endeavours and government-sponsored Protectors of Aborigines and, by contrast, the peculiar allure of the promise and rhetoric of systematic colonization. Exchanges with colonial informants, the imperial government, colonial speculators and humanitarians contributed to the development of platform, which emphasized indigenous possession of land, rights, fair access to the law and education.
Rooted in the extraordinary archive of Quaker physician and humanitarian activist, Dr Thomas Hodgkin, this book explores the efforts of the Aborigines' Protection Society to expose Britain's hypocrisy and imperial crimes in the mid-nineteenth century. Hodgkin's correspondents stretched from Liberia to Lesotho, New Zealand to Texas, Jamaica to Ontario, and Bombay to South Australia; they included scientists, philanthropists, missionaries, systematic colonizers, politicians and indigenous peoples themselves. Debating the best way to protect and advance indigenous rights in an era of burgeoning settler colonialism, they looked back to the lessons and limitations of anti-slavery, lamented the imperial government's disavowal of responsibility for settler colonies, and laid out elaborate (and patronizing) plans for indigenous 'civilization'. Protecting the Empire's Humanity reminds us of the complexity, contradictions and capacious nature of British colonialism and metropolitan 'humanitarianism', illuminating the broad canvas of empire through a distinctive set of British and Indigenous campaigners.
This chapter identifies the rise of a new paradigm of contracts within the modern global political economy: direct private contracts negotiated between companies and indigenous peoples (IPs) with a special socio-economic and cultural relationship to land. The above clause is taken from one such contract. These contracts are unique as IPs are one of the main negotiating parties and benefits for them are viewed as the main focus of negotiation. The contract cited above is special as it goes further than community development or social impact agreements, in order to translate indigenous rights to land by way of contract. These contracts effectively recognise indigenous rights on land and various forms of authority over said land, in addition, or in the absence of any formal title. They expose an emerging practice of formalizing free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) processes which may result (or not) in some procedural and substantive benefits for IPs. Consequently, we call this paradigm a contractualisation of indigenous land rights.
Climate change is often discussed in terms of linear units of time. This chapter covers the meaning of linear time and its implications for how climate change is narrated. There are concerns about how narrating climate change in this way can eclipse issues of justice in the energy transition. There are of course different ways of telling time. This chapter provides a narration of climate change inspired by particular Indigenous scholars and writers. These conceptions of time narrate time through kinship, not linearity. One implication is that issues of justice are inseparable from the experience of climate change.
This chapter examines how internal self-determination applies to minority groups (i.e. ethnic minority groups and indigenous peoples). It argues that minority groups can be considered as having a right to internal self-determination. However, internal self-determination is a concept that has mixed potential for minorities. It is a principle which does not guarantee a right to autonomy, and its realization always has to be within a state. Internal self-determination, therefore, is a concept which, wittingly or unwittingly, respects the underlying framework of the state. This can limit the options of minority groups' freedom and autonomy too. As for indigenous peoples, the 2007 UNDRIP recognizes a clear right to internal self-determination. However, indigenous peoples continue to face challenges in getting the right applied to them around the world. And the UNDRIP may not be a hopeful precedent for ethnic minorities.
This article reflects on the question of how culture and religion enter legal cases and public debates about the place of majoritarian religious symbols in diverse societies that have some democratic will to inclusion. In the context of the new diversity, the article considers how the articulation of “our culture and heritage” as a strategy for preserving “formerly” religious symbols and practices in public spaces excludes particular groups from the narrative of who “we” are as a nation. The reader is invited to consider how challenges to such symbols and practices might be articulated as a challenge to privilege and power and that a refusal to acknowledge those power relations puts the reputation of democracy and human rights at risk.
This chapter continues to uncover Steinbeck’s interest in Mexico (and the Mexican Revolution) and his relevance as a thinker on the Global South and its social inequalities. Turning to Steinbeck’s collaborative projects in Mexico, the documentary film about water sanitation, The Forgotten Village, and The Pearl--both novel and film made with the Mexican director Emilio Fernandez--we encounter experimental artistic forms that embody a transamerican political vision. If The Forgotten Village fails in its efforts to politicize and improve the living conditions of the indigenous peoples it depicts, then The Pearl represents a more successful attempt to participate in history. Comparing the novel and the film reveals a creative dialogue between Steinbeck and Fernandez, in which the novel’s techniques of sound and vision look forward to its existence as a film. Together with a new understanding of uncertainty and of a human consciousness extending into and capable of changing the world, The Pearl has a curious temporality that imagines society on the verge of revolutionary change.
Chapter 5 explains how the ideology of the postcolonial ‘developmental’ state relies on the language of economic progress and development to undermine the minority question. I offer a critical, in-depth, and multi-layered analysis of the complex interrelationship between minorities, postcolonial states, and dominant international actors with reference to ‘development’ and international law. The analysis is organised under two major rubrics: I first examine the treatment of minorities in the international law of development and then examine how international law discourse on minority and group rights addresses the issue of economic development. In both cases, critically engaging with central themes in the discourse on both ‘development’ and ‘minority rights’ under international law, I argue that international law provides a framework within which international actors and postcolonial states suppress minority interests in the name of economic development and that politically marginalised minorities suffer the most due to such development activities. In this way, international law involvement in the ideological function of the postcolonial ‘developmental’ state not only results in further marginalisation of already vulnerable minorities but also serves to legitimise and gloss over asymmetric power relations that produce such marginalisation. Case studies on the Rohingya and the CHT hill people substantiate my arguments.
This chapter examines the fraught terrain of REDD+ implementation ‘on the ground’, with a specific focus on three strategies that have been central to efforts towards social safeguards: benefit sharing, tenure reform, and rights to consultation and to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). It reads these three strategies as mechanisms for mediating the potential tensions between different – and potentially competing – demands: those ‘from below’, for rights and recognition, and imperatives ‘from above’, for ensuring that specific obligations are enforceable through the responsibilisation of local actors. This chapter examines how these competing demands play out in REDD+ implementation and suggests that these three strategies might not necessarily be emancipatory for people living in and around forested areas, but rather they may operate to facilitate the greater disciplinary inclusion of forest peoples in the ‘green economy’ and thereby further consolidate the actualisation of new forms of global authority through REDD+.
This article addresses the historical justice dilemma: although critical memory is indispensable for accountability, efforts to use it are often hampered by the unjust relations and systems that caused the wrongs to which historical justice is compelled to respond in the first place. Contemporary authors tackle this problem by focusing on collective responsibility for structural injustice. This article takes a different tack. Studying closely the 2009–2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) report, it argues that the structural turn may come at the expense of a focus on agency and may thus provide unwitting anonymity for wrongdoers while crimping our thinking about leadership and responsibility. Although this article strongly criticizes the TRC report, it tries to work constructively with it, developing an analysis that compensates for the report's unwitting invisibilization of perpetrators. Distilling portraits and analyses of wrongdoer agency that are latent in the TRC's postwar history volume, this article shows how we can develop the report as a resource of what I call retributive social accountability.
On 24 May 2020, Rio Tinto detonated an area of the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara in Western Australia as part of its iron ore mining operations, damaging two ancient rock shelters with profound cultural significance to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) People.1 The incident has brought international attention to the importance of Indigenous cultural heritage within broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.
La politique actuelle de réconciliation qui guide les rapports que l’État canadien entretient avec les peuples autochtones affiche une certaine discontinuité en matière de reconnaissance de leurs droits religieux. D’une part, les gouvernements accordent aux Autochtones certains privilèges à des fins de valorisation de leurs particularismes religieux dans l’espace public, d’une manière qui ne s’étend pas nécessairement à d’autres segments de la société. Parallèlement, par l’entremise de lois et d’ententes politiques, des nations autochtones se sont vu reconnaître des droits et privilèges en lien avec leur sphère religieuse, lesquels demeurent toutefois largement assujettis au cadre normatif établi par la majorité. Enfin, les tribunaux peinent jusqu’à présent à considérer les particularismes religieux des nations autochtones en tant que motif décisionnel. Cette reconnaissance à géométrie variable laisse transparaître un relent de colonialisme suivant lequel la dimension symbolique est valorisée, au détriment des avenues susceptibles de mener à une réelle autonomie des nations autochtones en matière d’expression religieuse.
States, international organizations and private businesses have distinct but complementary duties concerning human rights. States are obligated to respect, protect and fulfill human rights within their jurisdiction. International organizations are obligated to ensure that their activities, suc as financing infrastructure or peacekeeping in conflict zones, conform with (and in some cases protect) human rights. Business actors may not have the same responsibility as states or international organizations. For decades we have seen an increase in the number and in the development of frameworks that encourage economic globalization. We have also observed a similar path in the expansion of the international law frameworks that protect human rights, including indigenous human rights. Despite the growth of the two fields, both have developed separately, almost independently, although the two are fundamental to international law and a reflection of the world, especially after World War II (WWII). Frameworks regulating economic globalization have invariably lacked mechanisms of accountability on human rights.
This chapter provides the assessment of the intersection – that between international economic law and indigenous rights – coined in this book as international indigenous economic law. The author asserts that there is an important place for indigenous rights within the field of international economic law. Indeed, an international indigenous economic law, one that focuses on the vulnerable and marginalized, can provide a limited yet important pathway for improving the unequal distribution of the benefits of globalization and for moving beyond the standard conversations among mainstream and classical economists and policymakers that the redistribution of wealth and power should be purely domestic policy responses. This claim has implication for international economic law and indigenous rights scholars alike.
The main criticisms of globalization fail to fully capture the interests of indigenous peoples. On the one hand, the challenges based on relative gains rarely advocate from the perspective of indigenous peoples or take into account the experiences of these communities in their arguments. In general, these perspectives completely ignore both the specific protections of indigenous peoples and the ways in which these groups can effectively participate by integrating into a cosmopolitan community more welcoming of these experiences, often assuming that, as the relative losers, they are uninterested in incremental change and participation. This may not be true for all indigenous groups. On the other hand, perspectives based on absolute losses have been adopted by indigenous advocates who argue for systemic change, but fail to fully grasp this group’s interests. Regrettably, the sustainability perspective often disregards the interest of indigenous groups of participating in the gradual exploitation of their territories and resources.
This chapter explores indigenous peoples’ engagement with mainstream society in trade and investment. It expands the survey of the treatment of indigenous peoples in economic arrangements with examples illustrating the varied ways in which indigenous peoples may interact with international economic law to protect or advance their interests. The examples are presented as “case studies.” To some extent, the cases show how indigenous interests have used different arrangements to resist the cycle of susceptibility and exclusion created by economic interconnection or to take advantage of economic liberalization when possible. Some of the cases also incorporate the author’s own experiences and perspectives working with different institutions between 2014 and 2019.
This book offers pathways to extricate indigenous peoples from the impacts of economic globalization. It examines the complex interactions between human and economic-focused areas of international law – international economic law and human rights law mainly with one particular frame, that of the groups subjugated and marginalized by the process of globalization. I assert that, the ones truly left behind by the current form of economic interconnection are inter alia indigenous peoples. Their voices have been only slightly and recently taken into account in this current wave of contestation, and their perspective may provide a path for organizing transformational action. International economic law should enable the dissemination of core values of international law – human rights law in particular. In spite of their overlapping principles, a blind spot of international economic law is the limited engagement with the different notions of responsibility toward the planet that indigenous peoples often demonstrate. The author shares his years of practice and teaching experiences, which will be of use to international economic law lawyers and indigenous rights advocates.
The global ascendancy of neoliberal economics has deepened inequalities between and within nations and largely undermined efforts toward sustainable development. Based on a belief that the market should be the organizing principle for social, political and economic decisions, policymakers in many countries promoted privatization of state activities and an increased role for the free market, flexibility in labor markets and trade and investment liberalization. The benefits of these policies frequently fail to reach the indigenous peoples of the world, who acutely feel their costs, such as environmental degradation, cultural dispossessions and loss of traditional lands and territories. As vulnerable and often marginalized segments of the world’s population, indigenous peoples are at a heightened risk of experiencing the negative consequences of globalization. Understanding this reality could provide pathways for effective interventions to alleviate, overcome or, at the very least, minimize such effects.