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LAW4197 - Current issues in indigenous rights: international, comparative and regional perspectives

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Law

Leader(s): Melissa Castan


Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


This unit examines current developments in international and regional instruments and institutions that promote and protect the human rights of indigenous peoples. Comparative perspectives on the rights of indigenous peoples in common law jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand will be studied. Areas of focus include the definitions of indigenous peoples, the concept self-determination, collective and individual rights, land and resource rights, civil and political participation, and economic and cultural rights.
Please note that in 2009 this unit will involve the opportunity to participate in international videoconfrencing seminars with universities in North America and New Zealand


Students will be able to:

  • identify the key current issues regarding the recognition, protection and enforcement of indigenous rights by way of international and regional law and fora;
  • understand the basic parameters of comparative law theory and methodology;
  • research the major theoretical and practical issues about indigenous peoples from international, regional and comparative perspectives;
  • comment on the prospect for reform of the legal rights of indigenous peoples, in the light of current legislative, judicial, political and comparative developments; and
  • present written and oral analysis of complex problems involving indigenous peoples.


Examination (2 hours writing time plus 30 minutes reading and noting time) 40% and Research Essay (3,200 words) 40% and Literature Exercise (1,600 words) 20%

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104

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