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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 […]

Malaysia: Native Villagers Lose Land Rights Suit over Bakun Dam Construction

(Sept. 12, 2011) On September 8, 2011, Malaysia's Federal Court, the highest judicial authority in the country, delivered a unanimous ruling against members of an indigenous tribe who had challenged Sarawak State's seizure of land to build the massive Bakun Dam. The three-judge panel dismissed the villagers' appeal. The tribe members had argued that the […]

United Nations: Initiative on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

(May 26, 2011) On May 20, 2011, the United Nations began the U.N. Indigenous Peoples' Partnership (UNIPP), an effort to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The project was launched in conjunction with the 10th session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, being held in New York. The UNIPP will work to strengthen […]