Cross-cultural encounters produce boundaries and frontiers. This book explores the formation, structure, and maintenance of boundaries and frontiers in settler colonies. The southern nations of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have a common military heritage as all three united to fight for the British Empire during the Boer and First World Wars. The book focuses on the southern latitudes and especially Australia and Australian historiography. Looking at cross-cultural interactions in the settler colonies, the book illuminates the formation of new boundaries and the interaction between settler societies and indigenous groups. It contends that the frontier zone is a hybrid space, a place where both indigene and invader come together on land that each one believes to be their own. The best way to approach the northern Cape frontier zone is via an understanding of the significance of the frontier in South African history. The book explores some ways in which discourses of a natural, prehistoric Aboriginality inform colonial representations of the Australian landscape and its inhabitants, both indigenous and immigrant. The missions of the London Missionary Society (LMS) in Polynesia and Australia are examined to explore the ways in which frontiers between British and antipodean cultures were negotiated in colonial textuality. The role of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand society is possibly the most important and controversial issue facing modern New Zealanders. The book also presents valuable insights into sexual politics, Aboriginal sovereignty, economics of Torres Strait maritime, and nomadism.
This book is a full-length study of the rights of indigenous peoples in international law, focusing in particular on instruments of human rights. The primary reference point is contemporary law, though the book also examines the history of indigenous peoples through the lens of historical legal discourses. The work critically assesses the politics of definition and analyses contested definitions and descriptions of indigenous groups. Most of the chapters are devoted to detailed examination of existing and emerging human rights texts at global and regional levels. Among the instruments considered in the book are the International Covenants on Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, and the ILO Conventions on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.
Indigenous peoples and the development of international law
of trust or guardianship and looks at the early work of the ILO.
The conclusion reﬂects brieﬂy on the beginnings of the engagement of indigenousgroups with contemporary instruments and concepts, with their promise of renewal and empowerment.
An indigenous perspective
Through indigenous lenses, international law can look like a system for the
vindication of Eurocentric State practice – the ‘apologist’ pole of the
Koskenniemi characterisation.6 On such a view, it has done little to salvage
indigenous societies and much to damage them – though recalling the stances
Article 27 and other global standards on minority rights
practise their own religion, or to use their own language.
The examination of indigenous rights has proceeded despite the fact that
Article 27 deals with ‘minorities’ and not indigenousgroups. As noted in a
previous chapter, ‘minority’ is not deﬁned in the article, a silence which
many have attempted to ﬁll on the basis of varying degrees of scholarship.1
The most notable deﬁnition remains that of UN Special Rapporteur
Capotorti who deﬁned ‘minority’ not in a canonical manner but speciﬁcally
for the purposes of Article 27. As noted,2 the key deﬁnitional
Indigenous peoples and HR
Indigenous peoples and
the discourses of human rights:
a reﬂective narrative
The system of human rights is not closed. It is theoretically possible that
forms of closure of normative categories will in time descend on indigenousgroups, disabling the groups (normatively) from accessing minority rights,
just as minorities are not encouraged to access indigenous rights. Such an
outcome is not certain, and appears improbable in the present state of international law and relations. Closing off categories is also dubious morally
Regional HR protection and indigenousgroups
on human and minority rights
Emanating principally from the Council of Europe, key European instruments have considerable potential to advance human rights strategies of
indigenousgroups. The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 as a European organisation for intergovernmental and parliamentary cooperation.
The central motive for the creation of the Council was the need to secure
democracy in the light of recent and actual totalitarianism and to prevent
the recurrence of the gross
Global instruments on HR
The Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights
The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) does not
contain a speciﬁc article on indigenousgroups or – unlike the ICCPR1 – on
minorities.2 None the less, concern about the conditions of indigenous life
has exercised the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the
ESC Committee) on many occasions and will doubtless continue to do so.
The Covenant is structured as a programmatic or promotional human rights
treaty.3 The basic obligation for the
preamble of the UDHR, the Covenants
on human rights, and ‘the many international instruments on the prevention
of discrimination’. The recitations of non-discrimination apply to the peoples,
and to individuals, including ‘male and female members of these peoples’.58
The non-discrimination context is important, especially in view of the work
of CERD and the HRC, some of whose insights may inform the interpretation of Convention 169.59 Discrimination may be a factor in the failure of
some governments to recognise the existence of indigenousgroups, or to
recognise some and
/Indigenous Condition (Delhi, Konark Publishers
PVT LTD., 1998).
See chs 1 and 17 of this volume.
The utility of a minority rights strategy for indigenousgroups is assessed in
chapters 6 and 12 of this volume.
P. Thornberry, ‘On some implications of the UN declaration on minorities for
indigenous peoples’, in E. Gayim and K. Myntti (eds.), Indigenous and Tribal Peoples
– 1993 and After (Rovaniemi, Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority
Law, 1995), pp. 46–91.
For an account of the development and content of minority rights up to
1990, see the present author
Regional HR protection and indigenousgroups
The African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights; African perspectives
on indigenous peoples
The strictures of Special Rapporteur Alfonso Martinez concerning the
concept of indigenous peoples in Africa and Asia will be recalled. His comments ﬂag up the possibility that indigenousness raises difﬁcult questions
for African States, most of which are relatively recent beneﬁciaries of the decolonisation movement, and governed by indigenous political élites. African
States, according to one author, represent a mixture