Emeziem, Cosmas


It has become an annual ritual for the world—especially through the United Nations (UN)—to organize events and activities celebrating Indigenous Peoples.1 Further to this disposition, the UN has adopted a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.2 Equally, it is now fashionable, to include the needs, and questions, affecting indigenous peoples in our development programs and climate action activities—albeit sometimes as an addendum to the mainstream policies.3 The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the current prominence of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and decolonialization language in international policy briefs, give further credence to this apparent commitment to the rights of indigenous and othered communities. The recently concluded UN Climate Action Conference in Scotland (C0P26) 4 also voiced out some of the concerns of indigenous communities.5 Beyond these Conventions, Treaties, Declarations, and good faith statements, about the rights of indigenous/othered communities, it is imperative to articulate a set of principles, that can ensure that these apparent commitments do not become miserable comforts to indigenous and othered communities. Such principles can be implemented as best practices, and therefore sharpen the blunt edges of liberal international human rights. More so, such will enhance the pedagogies regarding the rights of indigenous peoples using Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) because indigenous people are often the racialized other, and also part of the “third world.” Thus, this essay highlights the possibilities that CRT and TWAIL can bring to the paradigms and proposes a ten-principle approach through which we can (re)invigorate these conventions, treaties, and declarations; thereby enhancing the human rights of indigenous/othered communities.



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