Indigenous Self-Determination and the Legitimacy of Sovereign States

Paul Keal

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Self-determination is the cardinal right sought by Indigenous peoples and in practice it may require states to accept divisible sovereignty. For most states, self-determination is framed by decolonization and is applicable to Indigenous peoples only in limited senses of self-government within state structures. Self-determination, however, is enshrined in key human rights documents and by denying Indigenous peoples the right to it, they jeopardize the legitimacy of the human rights regime, and the legitimacy of the United Nations as a source of progressive international law. They also widen the rift between international and world society raising important questions for the legitimacy of the sovereignty system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-305
    JournalInternational Politics: a journal of transnational issues and global problems
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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