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Conceptualizing the authority of the sovereign state over indigenous peoples

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2014
JournalLeiden Journal of International Law
Number of pages26
Early online date8/10/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The objective of this article is to evaluate whether the distinctive nature of the international law on indigenous peoples reflected in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) can be explained by reference to the service conception of authority developed by Joseph Raz. The article rejects arguments that the distinctive character of UNDRIP can be justified by ideas of ‘Indigenous Sovereignty’, not least because ‘sovereignty’ was developed in Western political thought in contradistinction to a constructed and imagined dystopian state of nature endured by the indigenous populations of the Americas. Instead, the work seeks to understand the UNDRIP regime in the light of Raz’s conceptualization of legitimate political authority, concluding that the inchoate and under-theorized international law on the rights of indigenous peoples becomes comprehensible within this framework.