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A Self-Determination Approach to Justifying Indigenous Peoples' Participation in International Law and Policy Making

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This paper defends the legitimacy-positive impact of a “contextual-participation approach” to indigenous peoples' participation in international law-making. It argues that indigenous peoples' participation should be substantial where the issue being negotiated at the international level is of considerable interest to indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples have not consented to state representation. The “contextual-participation approach” to indigenous peoples' participation realises the justice in indigenous peoples' claims to remedial efforts to recognise their, mostly lost and historical, sovereignty, and to contemporary and evolving legal, and largely democratic, understandings of self-determination, as expressed, for example, in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. At the same time, it balances indigenous peoples' self-determination entitlements to full participation in international law making, as unjustifiably excluded sovereigns, with contemporary political realities.

Affiliations: 1: Fellow, New Zealand Centre for Public Law, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge


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