Monash University Handbooks 2008

LAW7260 - Indigenous rights and international law

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Ms Melissa Castan


City (Melbourne) Trimester 3 2008 (On-campus split block of classes)


This subject will examine the existing international law that promotes/protects human rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples and locate this law within their culture and traditions. Historical and cultural perspectives. A study will be undertaken of the major international instruments that protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples. Draft United Nations declaration will be discussed. Main focus of discussion will include definition of indigenous peoples, right of self-determination, collective as opposed to individual rights, anti-discrimination, land and resource rights, civil and political participation, rights to language and education


At the end of the course the student will be able to 1) identify the key issues regarding the recognition, protection and enforcement of indigenous rights by way of international law and international fora; 2) research the major theoretical and practical issues regarding the protection of indigenous rights; 3) comment on prospect for reform on the legal rights of indigenous peoples, in the light of current legislative, judicial and political developments; and 4) present written and oral analysis of complex problems involving the rights of indigenous peoples in international law.


Seminar assessment: 20%
Research paper (6000 words): 80%

Contact hours




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