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Indigenous Peoples in International Law - LAWS8413

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Pre-requisite: Academic Program must be 9200 or 9210 or 9230 or 5740 or 9240 or 5760 or 9211 or 5211 or 9220 or 5750.
Excluded: JURD7613
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


The past three decades have seen the worlds more than 300 million indigenous people make significant advances in international law with the recognition of Indigenous rights through current and newly established mechanisms that advance the development of norms relating to Indigenous rights. The international system has responded to the increased awareness of the human rights problems Indigenous peoples face and as a result, discernible trends and normative developments have emerged at the international level relating to Indigenous peoples. This course synthesises the contemporary international law pertaining to in particular the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This course is also available to students undertaking relevant postgraduate non-law degree programs at UNSW, provdied such enrolment is approved by the appropriate non-law Faculty.

LLM Specialisations

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

A candidate who has successfully completed this course should be able to:
  • Appreciate the history of Indigenous peoples engagement in international law
  • Have a deeper understanding of the historical consequences of dispossession of Indigenous peoples and how it has manifested in contemporary human rights issues.
  • Specialised knowledge in the normative framework in international law pertaining to Indigenous peoples
  • A deeper understanding of the common problems facing the worlds' 300 million Indigenous peoples that dominate international concern and inform the normative framework

Main Topics

  • Who are ips? What is the right to self-determination?
  • UN human rights treaty body jurisprudence
  • United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations
  • United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples
  • United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
  • World Bank, IMF, MNCs and economic development
  • Indigenous Knowledge: WIPO, CBD, Climate change
  • ILO
  • OAS


8,000 word assignment (including footnotes)  80%
 Class participation  20%

Course Texts


Course Materials will be available for purchase from the UNSW Bookshop prior to the commencement of the course.


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer at the beginning of session.


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer at the beginning of session.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.