Orang asli (Indigenous peoples) of Malaysia celebrate a
successful High Court judgment in 2012. Photo via The Star.
On 11 February, Natural Justice made two submissions to a Human Rights Council-mandated study by the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) on access to justice in the protection and promotion of the rights of Indigenous peoples. The draft study will be presented at the sixth session of EMRIP in July.
The first submission had a global focus and consisted of two parts. Part I included inputs and experiences from several countries in Asia, Africa, and North and South America, with particular emphasis on the protection and stewardship of Indigenous peoples’ customary territories and resources. These were primarily drawn from a series of legal reviews coordinated in 2012 by Natural Justice and Kalpavriksh on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA) Consortium. It focused on the following themes before setting out key recommendations from the legal reviews:
- The relationship between access to justice and a range of other Indigenous peoples’ rights;
- Systemic and structural threats to Indigenous peoples’ rights and their territories and resources;
- Judicial systems themselves as a barrier to justice;
- Landmark judgments;
- Landmark legislation; and
- Continuing challenges with implementation and compliance.
Part II then suggested biocultural community protocols as an innovative tool for integrated legal empowerment to enable Indigenous peoples to access justice and to assert and affirm a range of other rights and responsibilities.
The second submission was a joint submission in French in collaboration with Programme d’Intégration et de Développement du Peuple Pygmée au Kivu (PIDP-Kivu) and focused on the particular challenges that the Indigenous peoples of North Kivu face in relation to access justice. These and other submissions by Natural Justice are available here.