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The Role of Domestic Courts in International Human Rights Law: The Constitutional Court of Colombia and Free, Prior and Informed Consent

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The internalization of international law by domestic courts is central to the effective implementation of international human rights law. This is particularly true for emerging rights rooted in soft law. In this regard, indigenous peoples’ rights have significantly expanded in international law over the past 20 years, essentially in the form of soft law. As a case study, the review of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Colombia illustrates ‘progressive’ interpretation of soft law, notably on free, prior and informed consent, which is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Thus, domestic courts not only implement international human rights law, but they also foster its development.

Affiliations: 1: Consultant and Independent Researcher; Associate Researcher, University of the Andes, Mérida, Venezuela,


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