Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Traditional Lands and Natural Recourses. The Inter-American Court Jurisprudence and Beyond.

This research project explores the recognition of the right to traditional lands and natural resources by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and their interrelation with Indigenous Peoples’ rights to cultural identity and dignified life.

Worldwide, indigenous peoples have suffered from the lack of recognition of their right to enjoy and own the lands and natural resources that they have traditionally occupied and used since time immemorial. The lack of access to these lands and territories has not only endangered their physical survival, but also the perpetuation of their ancestral culture as well as the maintenance and development of their distinguishable cultural identity.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I-ACtHR) was the first human rights international judicial body to recognize the right to communal property of indigenous and tribal communities over their ancestral lands and natural resources that they have traditionally used. Since the adoption of the landmark judgment in the Case of Mayana (Sumo) Awas Tingni Community vs. Nicaragua (2001), the I-ACHR has developed an innovative jurisprudence that shows a sensitive inclination towards the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and cultural understandings. This jurisprudence has not only paved the way for the amelioration of the life of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas, but it has also strengthened the protection of their rights within other regional systems that have found inspiration in this legal development.

The outcome of this project is to contribute to the scientific debate in this area through participation in two international conferences with the presentation of two different scientific papers, and a publication of a scholarly article in a leading international peer-reviewed journal.

Period:

2015-2017

Project owner:

Alejandro Fuentes

Alejandro Fuentes

Senior Researcher/Staff Representative to the Board

Phone: +46 46 222 10 46
E-mail: alejandro.fuentes@rwi.lu.se

Alejandro Fuentes is a Senior Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He received his PhD (in International Law) and LL.M (in Comparative and European Legal Studies) from Trento University (It.), and Law degree from the University of Córdoba (Arg.).

He is a regular lecturer at the Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, where he directs the course on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, teaches International Human Rights Law I and II, and supervises master theses.

His research focuses on international human rights law, in particular on international and regional systems of human rights protection, cultural diversity and identity, groups, minority and indigenous people rights, and human rights education. He has authored a book on Cultural diversity and indigenous peoples’ land claims: argumentative dynamics and jurisprudential approach in the Americas (Trento University, 2012).

He is a regular peer-reviewer of international scientific journals, including the Journal on Minority and Groups Rights and the Nordic Journal of International law, Brill Nijhoff, Leiden/Boston.

Alejandro Fuentes also has extensive experience in developing and implementing international programmes aimed to strengthen institutional capacities of judicial authorities and academic institutions in different regions in the world, especially in the field of human rights applied research and human rights education (HRE). He is currently closely collaborating with institutional partners in South-East Asia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Belarus, and with different European academic institutions.

Dr. Fuentes started his career in the Judicial Power of the Province of Córdoba (Arg.), where he worked for seven years as a judge’s assistance.

Follow Alejandro Fuentes on Twitter: @A__Fuentes

Keywords: Cultural Diversity; Pluralism; Inclusion; Equality and non-discrimination; Minority Rights; Indigenous Peoples; Human Rights Systems; Judicial Interpretation; Human Rights Education.

Select articles & papers

Fuentes, A.; Vannelli, M. “Human Rights of Children in the Context of Migration Processes. Innovative Efforts for Integrating Regional Human Rights Standards in the AmericasLaws 2019, 8, 31.

Fuentes A., “Judicial Interpretation and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Lands, Participation and Consultation. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights approach”, International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 23 (2016), 39-79.

Fuentes A., “Exploitation of natural resources and protection of communal property over indigenous peoples’ traditional lands and territories. Jurisprudential approaches.” Conference paper presented at the 5th AsianSIL Biennial Conference 2015 (Bangkok, Thailand). Available upon request.

Fuentes A., “Culture Diversity, Indigenous People and traditional lands claims under the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights”, research paper presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association – LSA (Chicago – US), 2010, pp. 36. Available upon request.

Fuentes A., “Culture Diversity and Indigenous People within the Inter-American Human Rights System”. Research paper presented at the Advance Course on the International Protection of Human Rights, organized by the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University (Turku/Åbo – Finland), 2009, pp. 27. Available upon request.

Fuentes A., “Human Dignity and the Italian Constitutional Adjudication”, Trento University, Co.Co.A. Paper Series, 2006

Select popular dissemination:

Fuentes A., “Rights to Lands, Participation and Consultation of Indigenous Peoples. A summary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ Judicial Interpretation”, RWI Research Papers (2016).

Changing Interpretations to Accommodate Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Differences”, RWI Dissemination/Speeches Series (2016)

The Colorblind Society: An Obstacle to Fight Racism?” RWI Dissemination Series (2016)

Combating Terrorism While Enhancing Fundamental Values: Finding the Balance”, RWI Dissemination/Speeches Series (2015).

Fuentes A.,”Letteratura e diritto: percorso esplorativo da Jean Valjean a Primo Levi” (Literature and Law: explorative journey from Jean Valjean to Primo Levi), Trento University (2006)

Ongoing research projects

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Traditional Lands and Natural Recourses. The Inter-American Court Jurisprudence and Beyond.

This research project explores the recognition of the right to traditional lands and natural resources by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and their interrelation with Indigenous Peoples’ rights to cultural identity and dignified life.

Right to Participation and Consultation of Indigenous Peoples. The Relevance of the Prior, Free and Informed Consent (FPIC).

This project analyses the rights to Participation and Consultation of Indigenous Peoples in all of those matters that could directly affect their rights and interests. Special consideration is given to the requirement of Prior, Free and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the light of international and regional human rights jurisprudence.

Human Rights Education. Education about, through and for Human Rights.

This project theoretically examines the contribution of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (UNDHRET) to human rights education programmes and modules. In particular, it focuses on education at university level about, through and for human rights and the role of university teachers as human rights educators.

Cultural Diversity, Inclusion and Prevention of Radicalization. A Human Rights Based Approach for a Culturally Diverse Europe.

This research project explores new thinking and theoretical approaches for dealing with the prevention of radicalization in a culturally diverse Europe, by means of interpreting the human rights framework from an inclusive perspective.