Human Rights Review

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 221–238 | Cite as

The Imperative of Indigeneity: Indigenous Human Rights and their Limits

Article

Abstract

The legal and normative openness of human rights allows for the integration of new subjects, arenas, violators, and protectors of human rights. Indigenous movements manage to use this flexibility and implement their claims within the human rights system. Yet, indigenous rights cause manifold discussions and ambiguities, all of which are related to the question of the concept of indigeneity. In spite of the endeavor for pragmatic and flexible approaches, scopes and implications of concepts of indigeneity need to be dealt with. This paper discusses both scope and implications, starting from hegemonic criteria for a working definition of indigeneity. It shows how indigenous identity is inextricably linked to its non-indigenous other. Subsequently, indigenous human rights entail specific repercussions in indigeneity being a resource and an imperative. Those repercussions stem from indigeneity being simultaneously a source and target of indigenous human rights claims and from the self-referential duplication of the right to indigeneity for indigenes, respectively. The provided tools for an analysis of the ambiguities of indigenous human rights (without simply dismissing them) contribute to their further and more just development, implementation, and monitoring.

Keywords

Indigenous rights Human rights Identity Culture Essentialism Group rights 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Center for Development and Decent WorkUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

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