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Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights Regarding Indigenous Peoples: Retrospect and Prospects

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Probably because there have been no landmark cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights (and the Commission) in favour of indigenous peoples, there has correspondingly been scant interest in studying the problems and possibilities of using the Court as an avenue to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples. is is clearly unjustifi ed, given that the Court has jurisdiction over so many indigenous peoples and is in a strong position to protect their rights. e article will examine the relevant legal disputes that have come before the Court (and the Commission), which have arisen primarily when northern indigenous peoples have confronted the intrusion of dominant societies and modern economic activities into their traditional territories and hamper the practice of indigenous traditional livelihoods – livelihoods that stand at the core of their culture. e article examines how the European Commission's and the Court's jurisprudence have evolved over the years in respect of indigenous peoples and try to explain why the Court has clearly faced some problems in responding to the concerns of indigenous peoples and whether the Court is better equipped in the future to deal with the evolving rights of indigenous peoples.

Affiliations: 1: Research Professor/Director, Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland


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