The United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples

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According to the Cornell University Law School’s ‘Legal Information Institute’, self-determination ‘denotes the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in the international order’. As a major concept of international law, self-determination gives people the right to control their own fates under certain fundamental criteria, and can be claimed by a minority that bases its lifestyle on an ethnic identity that is distinguishable from regular society, with a strong desire for cultural preservation. It has been considered to be a framework with the ability to guide legislative reforms within Australia, with an underlying ‘rights- based’ approach to Indigenous Issues. Self-determination is considered to be an important aspect of the legal system in regards to Indigenous Peoples, as it provides them a process of choice, to guarantee the practice of Indigenous social, cultural and economic needs.
The 2007 The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) states that ‘Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’. The right to self-determination is born from the legal and cultural acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples as Australia’s first settlers, and is important in the context of the Australian Legal System. Self-determination may be used by the courts to interpret domestic legislation, as well as
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