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

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More than 300 million people in over 70 countries make up the world's 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 recongized 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.

About the Author:
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

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844074853
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Bradford W. Morse     vii
Preamble     ix
Acknowledgements     xi
Basic Issues, Principles and Historical Background
The Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Eco-footprint Crime and the 'Biological/Ecological Integrity Model' to Achieve Environmental Justice     3
Cultural Integrity and Ecological Integrity: The Interface and International Law     23
Cosmopolitanism and Natural Law for the Recovery of Individual and Community Rights     47
Selected Examples from Domestic and International Case Law
Indigenous Peoples and Minorities in International Jurisprudence and the Responsibility of the World Bank     71
The United States and Indigenous Peoples: Some Recent ATCA Jurisprudence     103
First Nations of Canada and the Legal and Illegal Attacks on their Existence     125
Justifying Genocide: Principles and Reality
Genocide and Eco-crime: The Interface     163
Aboriginal Rights in Domestic and International Law, and the Special Case of Arctic Peoples     187
Some Modest Proposals for Global Governance
Indigenous Human Rights and the Obligations of State and Non-State Actors     219
Governance for Global Integrity: Present Instruments, Trends and Future Goals     241
The Earth Charter     275
'Development' and Environmental Racism: The Case of Ken Saro-Wiwa and theOgoni     281
Selected Documents     289
List of acronyms and abbreviations     311
List of cases     313
List of documents     317
Bibliography     323
Index     341
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