1st Edition

Environmental Justice and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples International and Domestic Legal Perspectives

By Laura Westra Copyright 2008
    364 Pages
    by Routledge

    368 Pages
    by Routledge

    More than 300 million people in over 70 countries make up the worlds indigenous populations. Yet despite ever-growing pressures on their lands, environment and way of life through outside factors such as climate change and globalization, their rights in these and other respects are still not fully recognized in international law. In this incisive book, Laura Westra deftly reveals the lethal effects that damage to ecological integrity can have on communities. Using examples in national and international case law, she demonstrates how their lack of sufficient legal rights leaves indigenous peoples defenceless, time and again, in the face of governments and businesses who have little effective incentive to consult with them (let alone gain their consent) in going ahead with relocations, mining plans and more. The historical background and current legal instruments are discussed and, through examples from the Americas, Africa, Oceania and the special case of the Arctic, a picture emerges of how things must change if indigenous communities are to survive. It is a warning to us all from the example of those who live most closely in tune with nature and are the first to feel the impact when environmental damage goes unchecked.

    Foreword by Bradford W. Morse * Part I: Basic Issues, Principles and Historical Background * The Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Eco-footprint Crime and the Biological/Ecological Integrity Model to Achieve Environmental Justice * Cultural Integrity and Ecological Integrity: The Interface and International Law * Cosmopolitanism and Natural Law for the Recovery of Individual and Community Rights * Part II: Selected Examples From Domestic and International Case Law * Indigenous Peoples and Minorities in International Jurisprudence and the Responsibility of the World Bank * The United States and Indigenous Peoples: Some Recent ATCA Jurisprudence * First Nations of Canada and the Legal and Illegal Attacks on their Existence * Part III: Justifying Genocide: Principles and Reality * Genocide and Eco-crime: The Interface * Aboriginal Rights in Domestic and International Law, and the Special Case of Arctic Peoples * Part IV: Some Modest Proposals for Global Governance * Indigenous Human Rights and the Obligations of State and Non-State Actors * Governance for Global Integrity: Present Instruments, Trends and Future Goals * Index


    Laura Westra is Professor Emerita (Philosophy), University of Windsor, PhD in Law, Osgoode Hall Law School and Adjunct Professor of Social Science, York University, Canada. She is the author of 18 books including Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations, published by Earthscan in 2006.

    An intellectually stimulating contribution to exploring the complex interface between eco-biological integrity and indigenous identity in the era of globalization.' Gaetano Pentassuglia, Liverpool Law School, University of Liverpool, UK 'The timing of Laura Westra's important work couldn't be better in furthering the understanding between environmental degradation and the human rights of indigenous peoples ... Laura's work will no doubt help to connect these crucial dots of the disproportionate negative extended ecological footprint of a globalized economy on the Arctic and its people.' Sheila Watt-Cloutier, OC, Citizen Advocate on Arctic Climate Change, Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and Nobel Peace Prize nominee 2007 'Raphael Lemkin, the man who invented the word 'genocide' (1944), stressed the criminality of 'cultural genocide' of national groups. Laura Westra's book comes as a thought-provoking and well documented step to follow Lemkin's path, as far as the groups today most vulnerable to cultural genocide are concerned.' Tullio Scovazzi, Professor of International Law, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy 'Highly readable, informative, passionate. This volume provides an intellectually stimulating contribution to exploring the complex interface between eco-biological integrity and indigenous identity in the era of globalization, while offering critical insights into international and comparative human rights jurisprudence.' Gaetano Pentassuglia, Liverpool Law School, University of Liverpool, UK 'This book will be of interest to policy makers, academics and students, as well as indigenous peoples all over the world. Its value lies in its providing a significant addition to the legal scholarship that is geared towards better recognising the rights of indigenous peoples.' Journal of Environmental Law