Human Rights Review

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 327-347

First online:

Indigenous Rights, Global Governance, and State Sovereignty

  • William H. MeyerAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, University of Delaware Email author 

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This article discusses indigenous rights within the context of global governance. I begin by defining the terms “global governance” and “indigenous peoples” and summarizing the rights that are most important to indigenous peoples. The bulk of this article studies the global governance of indigenous rights in three areas. The first example is the creation of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A second example involves violations of indigenous rights brought before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. A third case looks at a relatively new international regime created by indigenous peoples themselves—the Inuit Circumpolar Council. I conclude by using theories of sovereignty to assess the relative successes and failures of indigenous efforts to secure their rights.


Indigenous rights Global governance Sovereignty The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples The Inter-American Court of Human Rights The Inuit Circumpolar Council