The rights of indigenous peoples: closing a gap in global governance.
The year 2004 marked the end of the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Although the achievements of the decade are mixed, it capped a long struggle for the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the international system within the framework of the UN Human Rights Commission (HRC). (1) The UN recognizes indigenous peoples as having the following: priority with respect to the occupation and use of a specific territory; the voluntary perpetuation of cultural distinctiveness; self-identification, as well as recognition by others as a distinct collectivity; and an experience of subjugation, marginalization, dispossession, exclusion, or discrimination. In most instances, who are and who are not indigenous is fairly clear-cut, but there are borderline and ambiguous cases that may be controversial in...