Indigenous Peoples

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The Myth and Mayhem of ‘Build Back Better’: Human Rights Decision-Making and Human Dignity Imperatives in COVID-19

Human rights were already under siege everywhere around the world before COVID-19.  But there is also a dawning race now against reaching the ‘twilight of human rights law’, due to: 1) authoritarian regimes’ dismissal of the relevance of human rights while using this pandemic to expand and consolidate their power, such as to silence speech, quash dissent, dismantle media, or execute mass arrests, detentions, or shootings; 2) the growing prevalence of utilitarian reasoning that instrumentalizes human rights as just a set of ‘costs’ that can only be met by a privileged few; and 3) the resurgence of the age-old relativist attacks on ‘universal’ human rights, seeking to recast the latter as mere forms of ‘Western neo-imperialism’ against today’s new hegemonic powers such as China. The latter claims had long been debunked in Steve L.B. Jensen’s excellently researched historical and archival analysis rejecting the putative exclusivity or dominance of ‘Western’ authorship of international human rights instruments, stressing evidence of the crucial role in the 1960s of Asia, Africa,…

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Canada Avoids Indigenous Reconciliation and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

If you believe that Canada is a country filled with self-effacing and polite people, you may miss the genocidal violence within its borders. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have always known that the Government of Canada along with the Canadian provincial governments have deliberately implemented and enabled the continuous annihilation of Indigenous peoples. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered…

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The Ogiek Case of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Not So Much News After All?

On Friday, May 26, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) delivered its long-awaited judgement on the expulsion of the Ogiek people, a Kenyan hunter-gatherer community, from their ancestral lands in the Mau forest. As the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) did not manage to settle the conflict, it was…

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Mauritius v. UK: Chagos Marine Protected Area Unlawful

On 1 April 2010, the UK declared the world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) around the Chagos Archipelago. The Archipelago is one of 14 remaining British overseas territories, administered by the UK as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). In contrast to other British overseas territories such as the Falklands/Malvinas and Gibraltar, BIOT is not on…

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The Right to Regulate for Public Morals Upheld (Somewhat): The WTO Panel Report in EC-Seal Products

There have been few interpretations of Article XX(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994) - the  specific exception that justifies what would ordinarily be a State's GATT-inconsistent measure, unless such measure is deemed "necessary to protect public morals".  As with any of the ten enumerated exceptions under Article XX of GATT 1994, a State invoking GATT…

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