Sovereignty, Self-determination, and Environment-based Cultures: The Emerging Voice of Indigenous Peoples in International Law


This article presents a survey of both the rhetoric and applications of international law addressing indigenous peoples' environmental rights. Part I assesses three terms that are widely used in international instruments - sovereignty, human rights, and self-determination - for their applicability to the environment-related interests of indigenous peoples. Part II presents a sixty year litany of international instruments as a means of tracing the evolution of global awareness of the uniquely vulnerable position that indigenous people occupy in the world community in connection with their environmental interests. Part III offers a comparative analysis of the cases Kitok v. Sweden and the Awas Tingni Community v. Nicaragua, and Part IV discusses the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Environmental Law | International Law

Date of this Version

September 2005