Author: Nigel Bankes
This article explores the relevance of international human rights law to natural resource developments within the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. The author argues that international law prescribes standards that limit the authority of the state to grant resource rights to third parties and to approve resource projects within the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. In making this argument, the article examines interactions between recent developments in human rights law and the domestic legal system. The author approaches the topic through an examination of how several recent international decisions deal with conflict between territorial rights asserted by indigenous peoples and resource development permits granted by domestic governments within those territories. The article suggests that these decisions point to an emerging trend on the international human rights stage to interpret international rights instruments as requiring consideration of the relationship of indigenous peoples to the land prior to allowing resource exploitation.