Indigenous peoples right to land in Latin America : legal status and problems of recognition

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Uebel, Kerstin
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This thesis addresses issues concerning the current situation of indigenous land rights in Latin America. It investigates to what extend relevant international standards are implemented in national legal frameworks and realized in practice. The thesis argues that although the region is at the forefront of indigenous rights, there is a clear gap between the existing recognition in practice and the relevant standards in international human rights law and policies as well as national legal frameworks of Latin American countries. Using a generic approach, the thesis identifies and highlights the main trends and obstacles to the recognition of indigenous ownership to land, the security of their land tenure, and rights over natural resources on these lands. Following a brief survey of the historical treatment and current aspects influencing indigenous land rights, the thesis analyses international human rights law and policies of international development agencies in order to identify common standards on indigenous land rights. Taking the identified standards as a measure, the thesis examines to what extend they are recognized in selected national constitutions and legislation. The legal examination is followed by a critical discussion of cases of practical implementation, demonstrating that the lack of strong implementing legislation and political will very often undermines indigenous land rights in practice
Second semester University: Lund University.
economic social and cultural rights, Latin America, environmental policy, indigenous peoples, land tenure, right to property