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The Contribution of the Inter-American Human Rights Bodies to Evolving International Law on Indigenous Rights over Lands and Natural Resources

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image of International Journal on Minority and Group Rights

Because of the special relationship with land that characterises indigenous groups, rights over land and natural resources are at the heart of indigenous claims under international law. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court have developed a copious jurisprudence on the subject matter and contributed to the establishment of certain minimum indigenous peoples' land rights under customary international law. This article analyses the Inter-American judicial discourse on land issues in the light of the current status of relevant international law and reflects upon the potential contribution of the former to the further development of the latter. It focuses on the relationship between historical dispossessions and indigenous contemporary land claims, on the state duty to land delimitation, demarcation and titling, and on indigenous peoples' ownership over natural resources located within their traditional lands and their participatory rights in relation to resource exploitation.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Candidate, School of Law, University of Liverpool, UK


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