Indigenous Rights and United Nations Standards

Self-Determination, Culture and Land

Indigenous Rights and United Nations Standards

The debate on indigenous rights has revealed some serious difficulties for current international law, posed mainly by different understandings of important concepts. This book explores the extent to which indigenous claims, as recorded in the United Nations forums, can be accommodated by international law. By doing so, it also highlights how the indigenous debate has stretched the contours and ultimately evolved international human rights standards. The book first reflects on the international law responses to the theoretical arguments on cultural membership. After a comprehensive analysis of the existing instruments on indigenous rights, the discussion turns to self-determination. Different views are assessed and a fresh perspective on the right to self-determination is outlined. Ultimately, the author refuses to shy away from difficult questions and challenging issues and offers a comprehensive discussion of indigenous rights and their contribution to international law.


 Reviews:

"...a valuable reference for human rights scholars who must navigate the labyrinthine structure of the United Nations...It will help us to understand the differences and overlaps among universal human rights, the rights of minorities, and the rights of indigenous persons...The strength of this book is in its exploration of the UN bureaucracy...provides historical context and illumination of legal issues identified by all the parties. Scholars who address indigenous issues will want to be certain their library acquires this resource."
--Steve Russell, H-Human-Rights, H-Net Reviews; December, 2008


"...Indigenous Rights and United Nations Standards aims high...offers a comprehensive discussion of indigenous rights and their contribution to international law...covers the field quite successfully by focusing on the key issues of self determination, culture, and the land...thoughtful, authoritative, and elegantly written analysis of the current debate in the political sciences regarding the issues of preference and policy choice surrounding the preservation of cultures...Xanthaki's Indigenous Rights and United Nations Standards offers thorough, important, novel research into the efforts of intergovernmental organizations to alleviate the plight of the "Fourth World." The book's empirical foundations and analyses of political philosophy are profound, and the author demonstrates a clear understanding, with an emphathetic eye, of what the claims and aspirations of indigenous peoples are and how the international legal process, through formal instruments, has responded to them.These accomplishments alone make the book a most valuable contribution to the literature in the field."
--Siegfried Weissner, St. Thomas University School of Law, The American Journal of International Law [Vol. 103, 2009]


Review of the hardback: 'The book succeeds in capturing the substantial dimension of indigenous claims and related challenges to traditional international law, offering an important contribution to the growing international literature on indigenous rights. It suits both a reader without specialist knowledge of the subject, who can benefit from the general analysis of the current, and emerging, indigenous rights regime, and a more expert reader who can delve into interesting discussions on some of the most controversial issues arising within the indigenous debate in the international arena.' International and Comparative Quarterly

Review of the hardback: 'This book is nowhere more successful than when it is dealing with the 'thorny topic' of self-determination. The author has a deep knowledge of this area and she writes about it with a sure touch. … In this impressive book, Xanthaki explores a rich variety of international standards that support the evolution of indigenous rights. She marshals these often fragmentary sources, organising them into a coherent account of current international law. She condenses the voluminous literature on each of the book's themes into accessible chapters without diminishing the quality of her scholarship, which is a considerable achievement given the explosion in the discourse on indigenous rights during the last two decades. For the most part, she adopts a pragmatic approach to identifying the lex lata on indigenous rights and she sharpens the existing set of tools so that they can be applied with maximum effect. In this respect, her book is a worthy successor to Thornberry's Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights.' Wiley InterScience

Review of the hardback: '… an impressively researched, well written textbook-like book on indigenous peoples' rights and United Nations' standards that is also an immensely valuable teaching tool.' Human Rights Law Review

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