Topic: Specific yet universal? Indigenous peoples in international human rights law

Presenter: Dr Ghislain Otis - Canada Research Chair, University of Ottawa

Dr Otis will explain and critically analyse the gradual incorporation of specific indigenous peoples' rights into general international human rights law. The distinctive legal nature of indigenous rights is reflected in special international instruments designed to affirm the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, such as the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (Convention No. 169) of the International Labour Organization (I.L.O) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007. That said, few states have ratified Convention No. 169, and the U.N. Declaration, although widely supported, does not have the legal status of a treaty; indeed, its legal effect is a matter of some debate. And therein lies the practical interest, in countries like Australia and Canada, of determining to what extent general human rights enshrined in universal and regional instruments can be used to support the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples. But how perfect is the fit between the specificity of indigenous rights claims and the proclaimed universality of human rights?

This seminar is presented by the TC Beirne School of Law Research Seminar Series and the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law (CPICL). All welcome, please register by emailing Beth Williams.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: (334) 69350, email:

About Research Seminar Series

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