Intercultural Human Rights Law Review


This article argues that the current model of Indigenous rights adjudication foregrounds essentialized notions of culture, backgrounding interests of Indigenous peoples (IPs) that are not necessarily related to culture. Culture imposes a burden that limits the possibilities of human rights for Indigenous peoples, which is at least in part attributable to the current model's lack of precision. We show that the jurisprudence on IP rights by international adjudicatory bodies focuses on culture without meaningful attempts to explain and define it, is imprecise on how culture affects the reading of the human right for which it serves as the basis, as well as the engagement with a possible right to culture or the need for cultural accommodation. This lack of precision can be read as a pluralism of approaches, which could open avenues for different versions of culture to be accommodated; however, it also has the effect of enabling other interests to become bycatch, and then be warped and reshaped.