Siegfried Wiessner

Human Rights and Cultural Identity: The Case of Indigenous Peoples

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Since the days of Columbus, indigenous peoples have faced existential threats to their culture and their physical survival. Only recently, a movement of indigenous renascence across national borders has driven the world community to the development of a legal regime designed to respond to their communities' specific needs and aspirations. Guided by a global policy fostering cultural diversity, international instruments and customary international law have combined to establish novel rights to indigenous peoples' self-determination, cultural identity and traditional lands. These rights, particularly those of a communal nature, have become the legal paradigm in the safeguarding and flourishing of vulnerable cultural communities through generations and across the world.


  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Self-determination
  • Land Rights
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Collective Rights
  • Customary International Law


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