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Taiwan: New Indigenous Languages Act

(June 21, 2017) On June 14, 2017, the Republic of China on Taiwan government promulgated the Indigenous Languages Development Act in order to “achieve historical justice, further preserve and promote the indigenous languages, and guarantee that the languages are used and passed down … .”  (Indigenous Languages Development Act (May 26, 2017), art. 1, Legislative […]

New Zealand: Bill Establishing River as Having Own Legal Personality Passed

(Mar. 22, 2017) On March 14, 2017, the New Zealand Parliament voted to pass the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) Claims Settlement Bill (the Bill). (Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) Claims Settlement Bill, Government Bill 129-2, as reported by the Māori Affairs Committee, New Zealand Legislation website.) The Bill “gives effect to the Whanganui River Deed […]

Sweden: Court Recognizes Exclusive Fishing Rights of Sami Village

(Feb. 9, 2016) On February 3, 2016, the District Court of Gällivare announced its verdict in a hunting and fishing rights dispute between the government of Sweden and Girjas, a Sami village (a community of the indigenous Sami people that is a special legal entity with special legal rights and duties different from an ordinary Swedish village). […]

Taiwan: Draft Legislation on Indigenous Language Protection

(Dec. 3, 2015) On November 26, 2015, the Executive Yuan (Cabinet) of the Republic of China (on Taiwan) approved a draft law on the promotion of indigenous languages. (Cabinet OKs Indigenous Language Development Bill, TAIWAN TODAY (Nov. 27, 2015).) The Council of Indigenous Peoples (Yuan-chu min-tsu wei-yuan-hui, CIP) proposed the new legislation.  (Id.) The draft […]

Indonesia: Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People to Forests

(Apr 29, 2015) On April 18, 2015, Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, issued the “Mataram Declaration,” named after the capital of the province of West Nusa Tenggara. The Declaration is part of the government’s response to a May 2013 ruling of the Constitutional Court giving indigenous groups control of forested […]

Indonesia: Forest Rights of Indigenous Peoples Affirmed

(June 3, 2013) On May 16, 2013, the Constitutional Court of Indonesia gave indigenous people the right to manage the forests in which they live. It has been reported that this decision will block the government from selling such lands to private businesses. (Indonesia Court Ruling Boosts Indigenous Land Rights, JAKARTA GLOBE (May 17, 2013); […]

United Nations; United States: First U.N. Investigation of Native American Rights

(Apr. 24, 2012) From April 23 to May 4, 2012, James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona, will conduct a U.N. investigation into the rights of Native Americans. […]

Canada: History of Oppression of Indigenous Peoples to Count in Sentencing

(Mar. 30, 2012) On March 23, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that judges must take into account any history of oppression when sentencing aboriginal defendants in Canada. Specifically, the decision, which came in a joint ruling on two cases, stated: When sentencing an Aboriginal offender, a judge must consider … (a) the unique […]

Norway; United Nations: Expert Criticizes Plan to Repeal Laws on Indigenous Peoples

(Nov. 3, 2011) On October 28, 2011, James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, advocated the rejection of a proposal made by one political party in Norway that laws and policies that now protect indigenous peoples be repealed. Anaya stated that such a repeal would be an “enormous setback […]

Peru: New Law Granting Right of Consultation to Indigenous Peoples

(Sept. 27, 2011) On September 8, 2011, the Peruvian Congress passed by a unanimous vote the new Law on the Right of Consultation of Indigenous Peoples. (Ley 29785 del Derecho a la Consulta Previa a los Pueblos Indígenas u Originiarios Reconocido en el Convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional delTrabajo (OIT) of Aug. 8, 2011 […]