In this article renowned scholar S. James Anaya analyzes the divergent assessments of international law’s treatment of indigenous peoples’ demands to lands and natural resources. The author explores several strains of arguments that have been advanced within this debate, including state-centered arguments and human rights-based arguments. The author also examines the shortcomings of recurring interpretive approaches to international law that consider indigenous peoples’ rights to land and resources. From this analysis the author identifies a more promising approach within the human rights framework–which he describes as a realist approach–that focuses on the confluence of values, power, and change. The author argues that the realist perspective offers a more pragmatic and ethical approach within the discourse of indigenous rights over lands and natural resources.
Divergent Discourses About International Law, Indigenous Peoples, and Rights over Lands and Natural Resources: Toward a Realist Trend
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