Self-Determination and Resource Rights: Indigenous Lands under Threat

  • Jagriti Garg and Priyadarshini Tiwari
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  • Jagriti Garg

    Student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun (Uttarakhand), India

  • Priyadarshini Tiwari

    Assistant Professor at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

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The issues of indigenous rights and land-rights are two important topics that find a compelling introduction to indigenous peoples in India and their alarming status today. One of the largest tribal communities in India, the Adivasis, occupy more than a fifth of the country’s landmass. They have made some social, economic and societal progress, but continue to be discriminated against, live in poverty, have grossly unequal access to healthcare and education, and are constantly engaged in struggles to defend their lands, traditional territories, self-identity, spirituality and solidarity. This article is an analytical framework of the legal and political background (informed by law) to tackle the burning, global, real-world problem of indigenous peoples – what can be gained from a study of land and indigenous peoples? I take the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) as an entry point and examine the relevance of indigenous peoples’ (IP) self-determination and resource rights in contemporary India. The article outlines the history of the colonisation and post-Independent period in India; the erosion of land rights; indigenous land struggles and current litigation; that land (territory) is essential for the realisation of IP rights; the current Indian Supreme Court/Government policy to protect forests that IPs have been living in; a few major landmarks since 2007, where a land-related issue could have a significant impact as an indicator of the future of IP rights in India; the constraints of green laws in meeting or advancing IP rights; the question of reconciling economic growth and development with IP rights; a brief introduction of leading developments in tribal-rights jurisprudence and future directions; India has never had a systematic policy of land allocation or land ownership; my suggested future direction for a nascent and critical issue. Ending with the conclusion.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 3, Page 2870 - 2888


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