Traditional local communities in international law
Title: Traditional local communities in international law
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2013
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
One of the most important innovations of the 1992 Rio Summit was the consolidation of a synergetic approach between human rights and environmental conservation and the introduction of traditional local communities as new subjects of rights in international law. By proclaiming traditional local communities - together with indigenous peoples - as 'custodians of biodiversity', the documents adopted during the meeting called upon States to protect their cultures and lifestyles by, inter alia, enhancing their rights to lands and natural resources. Such developments have reverberated in other branches of public international law. In the realm of cultural heritage law, for instance, post-1992 instruments started to account to the interconnection between communities' culture and nature preservation, culminating in the introduction of the concept of 'cultural landscapes' in the UNESCO-World Heritage Convention and the recognition of communities' biodiversity-related knowledge and practices as a manifestation of (intangible) cultural heritage and cultural diversity. In the realm of human rights law, however, a schism is observed. While the relation culture-nature has played a fundamental role in the development of the rights of indigenous peoples, serving as key argument in the articulation of their rights to lands and natural resources, the same has not happened in the case of traditional local communities. In this light, this thesis discusses the neglect of human rights law and inquires as to possible legal avenues to address tenurial rights of traditional local communities. Its ultimate objective is to investigate whether and to what extent recent normative developments in environmental and cultural heritage law, as well as to discuss the jurisprudential advancements on the rights of indigenous peoples, so as to whether they might inform international human rights bodies and tribunals in the adjudication of cases involving traditional local communities' access to and use of lands and natural resources.
LC Subject Heading: Human rights; Biodiversity conservation -- Law and legislation; Cultural property -- Protection (International law); Indigenous peoples -- Legal status, laws, etc.
Defence date: 13 December 2013.; Examining Board: Professor Francesco Francioni, European University Institute (Supervisor); Professor Martin Scheinin, European University Institute; Professor Peter Hilpold, Universität Innsbruck; Professor Federico Lenzerini, Università di Siena.
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