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This is the first of two articles exploring the international human rights framework as it relates to Indigenous peoples’ land rights and interests, with a focus on Australia. Over the past 30 years, the international community has increasingly recognised that special attention needs to be paid to the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, as they are among the world’s most marginalised peoples. For a long time, the Indigenous peoples of the world have used the international human rights system to tackle discrimination and abuses of their rights, and the United Nations has increasingly become a place for them to voice their concerns.
In Australia, there has been a long-running debate about the lack of recognition of the First Peoples in Australia’s Constitution. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are increasingly demanding that the full suite of international human rights norms and standards are applicable to their affairs and to dealings with them, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This first article discusses the international human rights framework as it relates to the Indigenous peoples of Australia. The second article will take a closer look at how the land rights and interests of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are being recognised at the national and state jurisdictional levels within Australia, with reference to recent comparable actions in Canada and New Zealand.
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