Indigenous Peoples' Rights Under International Law - Not offered in AY 2022-23

Undergraduate Program Status

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Description: 

This course introduces students to the increasingly significant field of indigenous peoples’ rights at international level. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted in 1989 a major conventional instrument for the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights (ILO Convention No. 169). Despite its relevance, ILO Convention No. 169 faces significant problems both in terms of scope and content. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) adopted on September 2007 by the UN General Assembly aimed at filling these gaps. The course will study both instruments, as well as the institutions, standards, jurisprudence and theoretical issues which structure indigenous peoples' relationship to international law. The course will address the broad spectrum of issues involved in the field of indigenous peoples’ rights, beginning with who qualifies to be “indigenous peoples”, the scope of their right to free, prior and informed consultation, their right to use and apply their own legal systems, the international and regional legal frameworks for the protection of their rights and the challenges associated therewith, and the debates surrounding indigenous land rights and property over natural resources. Students will become acquainted with the major debates, authors, and issues in this area of the law, and will have concrete understanding of how indigenous peoples' rights claims have come to play a leading role in recent developments in international law.

Learning Outcomes: 

• Knowledge of the historical development of indigenous peoples' rights.
• Ability to understand the difference between individual rights and collective rights at international level, and to identify possible conflicts between individual and group rights.
• Ability to analyze and apply legal texts and precedents relating to indigenous peoples’ rights.
• Ability to identify and discuss the limitations of the current international legal regime.
• Ability to demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the definition of indigenous peoples.
• Knowledge of indigenous peoples' basic rights (self-determination, land rights, free, prior and informed consultation, legal pluralism, right to heath, education, political participation).
• Be familiar with the procedures established in international law to monitor the implementation of indigenous peoples' rights, and corresponding complaint mechanisms.
• Ability to define, explain and critically reflect upon the central issues relating to the recognition, protection and enforcement of indigenous peoples’ rights through international law and international institutions.
• Good knowledge of cultural rights in relation to indigenous peoples.