Final Program PDF EMPI2018



Dear colleague,

It’s a great pleasure to invite you to the Ninth Multidisciplinary Conference on Indigenous Peoples entitled “Territories in dispute: epistemologies, resistances, spiritualities and rights”, on 30/31 May and 1 June 2018 at the University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University (Middelburg, the Netherlands).

We will welcome papers that address the following the themes:

1. Southern Epistemologies: territories, political ecology and the Buen Vivir (Good Life)
2. Rights for nature or Rights of nature? Challenges and contributions from Indigenous worlds
3. Indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage: the 169 ILO convention, the UNDRIP and consultation processes application, challenges and future developments.
4. Conflicts and modern wars: epistemicides, knowledges, alternatives beyond modernity and conflict resolutions.
5. Defining the international political and legal impacts of the Rights of nature
6. Gender: Indigenous Feminism, Justice and Patriarchy in Indigenous worlds
7. Cross-intercultural dialogues: climate change, human rights and environmental sciences, what can we exchange and what can we learn from each other?
8. Policies: educational policies, Indigenous languages, educational access, educational pluralism.
9. Regaining consciousness, emerging identities: Indigenous Art-design, cinema and cultural property.

Paper proposals (max. 300 words) can be in English or Spanish and should be submitted by email at EMPI2018@ucr.nl up to the end of April 2018. A CV summary (max. 50-100 words) of the author/s shall be included in Spanish or English. Abstracts in Portuguese are accepted with the translation in English, however presentations are in English or Spanish.


Registration is through a Google-event invitation, please follow this link to do it:

Full information is available in the following links:



For any questions, please contact EMPI2018@ucr.nl.

Looking forward to welcoming you there,

Organizing Committee: Carolina Sánchez De Jaegher (UCR coordinator), Prof. Felipe Gómez Isa (Human Rights Institute, University of Deusto, Spain), Amelia Alva (Human Rights Center, University of Ghent, (Belgium) and Dr. Rodrigo Céspedes (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany)

Scientific Committee: Amelia Alva (Human Rights Center, University of Ghent, Belgium), Rodrigo Céspedes (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department of Law
&Anthropology Germany), Dr. Roberto Cammarata (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy, International Studies and Political Philosophy), Prof. Felipe Gómez Isa (Human Rights Institute, University of Deusto, Spain), Dr. Isabel Inguanzo (Área de Ciencia Política y de la Administración, Universidad of Salamanca, Spain), Dr. Salvador Martí i Puig, (Universitat de Girona, Spain), Dr. Silvia Ordoñez Ganoza (Universidad César Vallejo, Trujillo, Perú), Prof. Wil Pansters (CCHR and Sociology Utrecht University, the Netherlands), Prof. Marzia Rosti (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy), Dr. Andrea Ruíz Balzola (Consultoría, Investigación y Formación en Diversidad y Migraciones, Bilbao,
Spain), Carolina Sánchez De Jaegher (University College Roosevelt, the Netherlands)
Dr.Chiara Scardozzi (Università “La Sapienza” Roma, Italy), Prof. Marc Simon Thomas (Utrecht University, Law, the Netherlands), Dr.Alexandra Tomaselli (Accademia Europea
Bolzano/Bozen, Italy & Karl-Franzens Universität, Austria), Dr.Sara Mabel Villalba Portillo, (Universidad Católica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Paraguay), Dr. Rolando Vázquez Melken (UCR-Utrecht University) and Dr. Claire Wright (Universidad Autónoma of Nuevo León, México)

Accommodation in Middelburg with special discounts:

Green Accomodations in Middelburg (1)







India’s Nation-building Policies and Indigenous Peoples Rights: the case of Manipur


Written by: Dr. Ningthoujam Rameshchandra*

This piece of write-up discusses India’s political dispensation toward a ‘region’ called the ‘northeastern region (hereafter NER)’ of the postcolonial Indian State (in general) and Manipur (in particular) that is largely settled by indigenous communities. This region has been plaque by protracted armed conflict, which is regarded to be one of the longest lasting armed conflicts in South Asia if not in Asia. There is divided opinion among the scholars on the root cause of this conflict, arguing that the conflict stems from the backwardness of the region, while the other school of thought argues the controversial merger of this erstwhile princely state (Manipur) to the Union of India in 1949. The Indian State has responded to a local insurgency that began soon after the controversial merger by following a two-pronged strategy, the first informed by militarism and the second by what I identify as developmentalism, which stresses the unilateral nature of India’s nation-building projects. However, both strategies have failed to yield any tangible results in terms of any advance or success in conflict resolution.

On the other hand, this region is situated in such a strategic location where India can expand its economic prowess towards her eastern neighboring countries via land route. By virtue of this significant location, India has step up its national security measures to defend this frontier region against its powerful and influential neighbors. In fact, to cope with the Chinese influence, or to establish firmer control over this region, and to expand its influence over Southeast and East Asian countries, the Central Government began to employ certain economic as well as coercive/militaristic policies over this frontier area. However, these (said) policies have resulted in the escalation of armed/ethnic conflict and civil society dissatisfaction when the indigenous communities of this region have unmasked the disruptive substance of India’s nation-building approach.

So far, the Indian Government did not acknowledge any claim for indigeneity or indigenous peoples that are settled in this part of the country. Rather, it responded that India has its own definition of indigenous peoples that is described as tribal (Xaxa 1999).

There is no fixed definition of the term ‘indigenous people’(1). The United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its preamble emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such, while referencing the histories of oppression against them. Finally, its operative article 33 affirms the rights of indigenous peoples to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions (see also Cobo 1982).

In this regard, most of the communities of India’s northeastern region will obviously fall in the category of indigenous peoples, because they have distinct culture, territories and histories. In addition, most of their grievances (including armed movement) stems from their distinct cultural identities and deep connection to their traditional territories that are affected by the state developmental projects within their traditional lands. Therefore, the peoples of this region can easily be identified as indigenous.

On the other hand, the violation of basic human rights by the state has been a grave concern in this region. In the worst case, the politics of India’s North-east appears to be unpalatable when the central government imposed the notorious, ever controversial (martial) law: the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (here after the AFSPA or the Act) of 1958 (2). Violations of human rights under AFSPA is rampant; where the Indian armed forces, who are supposed to safeguard the territorial (i.e., international) boundary and defend the external aggressions, are involved in civil issues (3). They are granted with legal impunity under the purview of this Act. Even the educational institutions are not spared (see pictures 1, 2 and 3).

The AFSPA ‘is not only against certain basic normative and institutional norms and practices of the civilized democratic and republic ethos, but it also implies some underlying racist and or paranoid and jingoistic nationalism’ (4). This unlawful, pejorative law is unfortunately and unlikely to be repealed from this troubled periphery, since the central government relies on the method of coercion, i.e., militarism to further their nationalizing mission (Joshi 2013).


Pictures 1 and 2: one of the Indian military camps inside the Manipur University campus. Photo credits: the author.

blog 1


blog 2

Picture 3: Indian army personnel who are supposed to safeguard against external threats are seen to be involved in internal civil issues, such as a public meeting/protest held against the construction of Tipaimukh dam in Manipur. Source: Yumnam 2012.

blog 3

As a result, the rights of the indigenous peoples of the northeastern region are threatened and often violated. In fact, two issues from the state of Manipur are raised here: (i) Extrajudicial execution and (ii) Exploitation of natural resources. These cases are mostly drawn from the UN Special Rapporteurs who visited to North-east India and Manipur in the recent years.

(i)              Extrajudicial execution: it may be shocking but extrajudicial killings is not uncommon in northeastern India or Manipur in particular. A recent Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed before the Supreme Court of India by one of the civil societies. The Extra-judicial Execution Victims’ Families Association of Manipur (EEVFAM) through an NGO (Human Rights Alert, HRA), Manipur, alleged that 1,528 people have been killed in the last thirty years, i.e. since 1979 (The Times of India 2012).

Despite all these extra-judicial executions, the government is showing apathy and inaction hitherto. It is nothing but an utter violation of the rights and complete denial of the basic rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Indeed, the inability to bring any single justice to the victims by prosecuting the perpetrator of the atrocities confirms the indifference of the government.

(ii)            Exploitation of natural resources: since the last decades, the government of India has been exploiting the natural resources of northeastern India without much consideration of the social and environmental detriments. This extractivism includes oil and other minerals exploration, construction of mega dams, et al. All these projects greatly affects the indigenous peoples. So far, many civil societies of Manipur have filed PIL or even submitted reports to UN agencies.

Acknowledging the gravity of the issue (Manipur in this case), the UN Special Rapporteur Prof. James Anaya in his letter dated 6th April 2009, called the attention of the Government of India in one of his reports to the Human Rights Council (HRC/12/34/Add.1, paragraph 161-172) – Special Rapporteur’s 2009 Report, that talks about the situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People (Shukhdeba 2013).

The Government of India on the other hand, in its response dated 4th June 2010 denied Anaya’s proposal to comply with the definition of the ‘indigenous people’ at international standard. Government of India, on the other hand, has denied the idea of indigenous people that is being proposed and responded that India has its own definition of indigenous peoples. It further said that ‘a precise definition of indigenous peoples has not been included in the Declaration on Indigenous Peoples that was adopted after 22 years of prolonged negotiations’. The Indian Government further said that any attempt to produce a definition now is ‘neither desirable nor productive’. It continues to reject this way that ‘the UN Special Rapporteur should not attempt to expand the application of the Declaration to unrelated groups, like the tribal peoples in India, through his interpretation of experiences of what he calls other indigenous people’ (Ibid.).

So far, India has ratified the ILO Convention No. 107 that was founded on the assumption that the indigenous and tribal populations (ITPs) would disappear with the advent of the modernization. However, India is yet to ratify the subsequent ILO Convention No. 169 that focused mainly on the rights of the indigenous and tribal people. Perhaps, the Convention No. 169 gives more teeth to the indigenous peoples and that could be a hindrance to India’s zealous groundings of nation-building (5).

The Government of India may denied Anaya’s proposal of ‘indigeneity’ for the people of North-east, but one cannot denied the claim of indigenousness who has developed their territories, community, nation, culture, etc. in the pre-invasion and pre-colonial period and has shown a character of historical continuity that consider themselves distinct from other sections of the societies.


(1) However, the ILO Convention169 established objective and subjective criteria to identify them (Article 1).

(2) Justice Committee headed by the Supreme Court Judge (retd.), Jeevan Reddy, has recommended for the complete repeal of this Act in the year 2005. However, Indian government has neither officially published the report nor it is ready to discuss the issue in the Parliament. For report, see Reddy 2005.

(3) The New Delhi government has been claiming the conflict situation in the North-east as a ‘law and order’ problem or as an issue of economic backwardness.

(4) Excerpted from the conversation with Dr. Akoijam Bimol, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on 28th April 2013.

(5) In fact, Article 3, 4 and 7 of the ILO Convention No. 169 affirm the indigenous peoples’ rights to enjoy the full measure of human rights and fundamental freedoms without hindrance or discrimination, that they should enjoy the general rights of citizenship without discrimination, and that they should have the right to decide the priorities for development respectively.


* Dr. Ningthoujam Rameshchandra is a PhD from International and Intercultural Study Program, Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao, Spain. He is a Research Fellow of Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi. His research interest areas include, armed conflict, migration, nationalism, among others areas. You may reach him via rameshningthoujam@gmail.com.



Xaxa, V. (1999). Tribes as Indigenous People of India. Economic and Political Weekly , XXXIV (51), 3589-3595.

Cobo, J. M. (1982, June 20). Martinez Cobo Study of the Problem of Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations.

Reddy, B. J. (2005, June). Report of the Committee, headed by Justice (Retd) B.P. Jeevan Reddy, to Review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958.

Joshi, S. (2013, February 7). Army’s stand makes it hard to amend AFSPA: Chidambaram. The Hindu.

Yumnam, J. (2012, September 3). High Tipaimukh dam negotiations sans peoples. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from Global Water Issues: http://www.w4pn.org/index.php/latest-global-water-issues/26-india/57-high-tipaimukh-dam-negotiations-sans-peoples.html.

The Times of India. (2012, October 2). 1,528 victims of fake encounters in Manipur: PIL.

Shukhdeba, Sharma Hanjabam, U. N. (2013). United Nations and Human Rights in Manipur: Representation to the United Nations System & Concluding Observations/Communiques/Remarks 1991-2012. New Delhi: Forward Books.






Ríos: seres vivientes y personalidad jurídica

Dr. Lieselotte Viaene, investigadora del Centro de Estudios Sociales de la Universidad de Coimbra, ha publicado un artículo en plazapublica.com.gt el que explora nuevos argumentos legales para defender los territorios de los pueblos indígenas a propósito de la reciente sentencia de la Corte Constitucional de Colombia que ha reconocido como sujeto de derecho al río Atrato

Nuevos argumentos legales en la defensa de los territorios de los pueblos indígenas

En marzo de este año, Nueva Zelanda estableció un precedente legal mundial al otorgar el estatus de persona jurídica al río Whanganui, parte del territorio del pueblo indígena Maori Iwi. La ley Te Awa Tupua reconoce este río como un antepasado, una entidad viva, poniendo fin a una lucha de 140 años de este pueblo indígena por el reconocimiento de su relación espiritual con el río. Pocos días después, la corte suprema del estado Uttarakhand en la India, citando la decisión del parlamento neozelandés, decidió que los ríos Ganges y su afluente Yamuna, ambos considerados sagrados por los hindúes, tienen derechos como los seres humanos con el objetivo evitar que los ríos sigan con altos niveles de contaminación. También la Corte Constitucional de Colombia, en una sentencia de abril de este año, considera el río Atrato en la provincia de Chocó, principalmente territorio afro-descendiente, como sujeto de derecho ordenando al Estado un plan de protección contra la minería desbordada.

¿Qué significa esta novedad jurídica?

A partir de estos precedentes jurídicos, estos ríos tendrán estatus de entidades vivas, considerados como personas legales con sus correspondientes derechos, obligaciones y responsabilidades. Es decir, si alguien los daña o contamina, la agresión/violación equivaldrá a una cometida contra una persona porque son una y lo mismo. Son un nuevo paso significativo en el debate internacional sobre los derechos de la naturaleza desde de que Ecuador en 2008, como primer país en el mundo, reconoció constitucionalmente la naturaleza o Pacha Mama como sujeto de derecho.  

Estas innovadoras decisiones abren también nuevas ventanas para repensar el contenido y el alcance del “nuevo” derecho humano al agua, aprobado por la Asamblea General de la ONU en 2010, en el contexto de la neoliberalización de la naturaleza y del dominio de la visión antropocéntrica moderna. El derecho humano al agua es el derecho de disponer de agua suficiente, salubre, aceptable, accesible y asequible para el uso personal y doméstico, derivado del derecho a un nivel de vida adecuado conforme al Pacto Internacional de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales. El reconocimiento internacional explícito como derecho humano responde a décadas de debates sobre la importancia del acceso al agua potable para el desarrollo humano y aplica “el enfoque del desarrollo basado en los derechos humanos” a la concepción del desarrollo.

Sin embargo, en aplicación de los principios de indivisibilidad e interdependencia de los derechos humanos, la protección del derecho al agua no puede desligarse del derecho colectivo de los pueblos indígenas a la tierra, territorio y los recursos naturales, como es reconocido en los instrumentos internacionales sobre derechos de los pueblos indígenas.

Reclamos de pueblos indígenas por una relación humano-naturaleza distinta

Los pueblos indígenas, sistemáticamente excluidos y silenciados por el colonialismo y neoliberalismo, se movilizan en todo el mundo para reclamar otras relaciones con el agua. Cuestionan no sólo la visión hegemónica de los derechos humanos, el conocimiento científico dominante y las lógicas del mercado neoliberal, sino también proclaman una manera radicalmente distinta de ser y de vivir.  Por ejemplo, el pueblo Maori Iwi se considera uno con el río Whanganui, expresándolo como “yo soy el río, el río soy yo”.

Sin embargo, muchas veces estas propuestas y demandas de los pueblos indígenas son percibidas como meros slogans estratégicos y románticos en sus luchas contra las políticas extractivas de sus gobiernos neoliberales.

Se debe reconocer que la jurisprudencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos ha marcado hitos históricos en la interpretación del derecho colectivo al territorio de los pueblos indígenas, como el caso de la Comunidad Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni Vs. Nicaragua (2001)– donde reconoce que su relación con la tierra no se limita a la posesión y producción, sino que es especial, colectiva y multidimensional, donde integra su cosmovisión e identidad cultural y espiritual.

En otros casos han reclamado otros vínculos con la tierra, como el pueblo Kichua de Sarayaku, que llevó ante la Corte una disputa contra el Estado ecuatoriano porque permitió actividades petrolíferas en su territorio sin haberles consultado. Los sabios y autoridades de este pueblo plantearon que su tierra vive, es una selva viviente (kawsak sacha). Que tanto en el suelo como en el subsuelo viven seres que mantienen el equilibrio y la abundancia, por lo que hay que protegerlos como seres humanos. En su sentencia (2012) la Corte condenó Ecuador por no haber realizado la consulta, pero no reconoció a la selva como sujeto de personalidad jurídica, como fue el caso de Nueva Zelanda, India y Colombia.

Río Chixoy, sus afluentes y veras: un núcleo familiar para los maya q’eqchi’

En Guatemala también las y los ancianas y ancianos de las comunidades maya q’eqchi, amenazadas por el proyecto hidroeléctrico Xalalá parte de la agenda energética estatal – sobre el río Chixoy, donde se dividen los departamentos Alta Verapaz y El Quiché, aseguran que este río vive.

En su ontología no solo los seres humanos viven y tienen consciencia, sino también los Tzuul taq’a (Cerro-Valle), el maíz, los ríos, las cuevas, las casas y los animales yo’yo’  -viven-, por lo cual pueden enojarse, llorar, sentir dolor y hacer justicia. De hecho, en el idioma q’eqchi’ no existe un verbo para expresar “ser/estar” porque lo que existe “es” y todo es uno, mientras expresarlo explícitamente crearía una separación. Esta ontología cuestiona la división entre Cultura-Naturaleza que plantea la ontología moderna dominante y por el contrario refleja una visión no-dualista del mundo, donde todo es uno, interrelacionado e interdependiente.

Transgresiones de las normas sociales y espirituales entre estas entidades vivas provocan desarmonía en las relaciones sociales y espirituales. Esto genera sufrimiento y tristeza (rahilal) en el corazón (ch’ool), tanto del ser humano como de no-humanos. Además, cuando la dignidad (loq’al) de una persona o una cosa sagrada es mancillada se dice que hubo muxuk. Es decir, el entorno natural al igual que las personas puede sufrir este tipo de agravio.

El conjunto que forma el Chixoj con las veras fértiles y los afluentes son una familia de madre, padre e hijos.  Para su ontología el agua es “la sangre que corre tanto en las mujeres como los hombres” y por tanto es sagrada. Como dicen los ancianos, es “la lecha materna que nutre la tierra”.

Hidroeléctricas: ¿Se escucha que susurra el rio sagrado en procesos de consulta previa, libre e informada?

Colombia, Ecuador y Bolivia llevan a cabo hoy procesos de consulta sobre normas legislativas y administrativas que afectan directamente a los pueblos indígenas. Acorde a los estándares internacionales, la consulta debe ser un diálogo intercultural entre el Estado y las comunidades, de buena fe y culturalmente adecuado, para llegar a un acuerdo o el consentimiento. Sin embargo, en su aplicación -por ejemplo- en proyectos hídricos en territorios indígenas, se constata que los conocimientos científicos modernos basados en la división Cultura-Naturaleza prevalecen durante las negociaciones entre el estado, las empresas (trans)nacionales y las autoridades indígenas.

A pesar de las históricas desigualdades de poder, los pueblos indígenas han participado en estos espacios burocráticos de consulta. Sin embargo, sus voces no son escuchadas por los representantes del Estado y las empresas. Cuando plantean que el río o el bosque sagrado les habló por medio un sueño o una ceremonia de fuego o una consulta con ayahuasca, son objeto burla y de rechazo desde la visión hegemónica.

Más allá del derecho humano al agua: retos apremiantes

Los precedentes jurídicos de la India, Nueva Zelanda y Colombia y la existencia de otras naturalezas del agua son argumentos para la defensa de los territorios indígenas. No obstante, a defensores de derechos humanos y de medio ambiente, con formación occidental antropocéntrica, les puede incomodar estas ontologías indígenas que cuestionan el dogma que existe una sola realidad donde los ríos son recursos naturales para su utilización o que deben ser “preservados”.

Es razonable preguntarse ¿será posible nombrar y reconocer en términos jurídicos lo que no existe en la visión dominante moderna: que un río habla, siente y puede sufrir daño? Otra pregunta pertinente es ¿quién habla por el río durante un proceso de consulta previa o ante un juez durante la judicialización de conflictos por el agua? ¿Un abogado indígena, un shaman, un guía espiritual, una autoridad indígena, un representante del ministerio de ambiente?

Todavía más allá, si los ríos tienen derechos como las personas, ¿implica la obstrucción de sus flujos por la construcción de represas e hidroeléctricas una violación del derecho a la vida, un derecho consagrado en la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos y el Pacto Internacional de los Derechos Civiles y Políticos?

Para la ontología q’eqchi’ esto es un argumento legal válido. La construcción de una represa sobre el río Chixoy implica, según los ancianos, xmux’bal yuam li nim ha, que significa literalmente la profanación (muxuk) de la vida del río o, en términos jurídicos, la violación de la vida del río Chixoy. O como expresa una anciana q’eqchi’ “los ríos son las venas de la tierra. Una represa cortará las venas, así que el río y la tierra morirán y nosotros también”. Esta es una de las principales razones por la cual las comunidades q’eqchi’ rechazan este proyecto hídrico en su territorio.

La concepción indígena que todo tiene vida – también los recursos naturales – y debe ser protegido, como la vida humana, no es nueva, pero si su reconocimiento legal. Es decir, los abogados que litigan en contra de mega proyectos extractivos en territorios indígenas tienen ahora a su disposición un nuevo argumento legal: la protección del derecho a la vida del agua, del río y de los bosques.







The conference

The 2017 Law and Development Research Conference, hosted by the Law and Development Research Group, University of Antwerp, will focus on perspectives from the Global South on the field of Law and Development. It is a first attempt to establish a North-South dialogue around three topics: sustainable development, the protection of vulnerable groups, and the need to use innovation and technology transfer for the benefit of vulnerable groups. Participants will be asked to send a short paper (maximum 3500 words) on one of these proposed topics.

Call for papers

You are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 400 words to hrdevdays@uantwerpen.be

Deadline for abstracts                                              30 April 2017
Abstracts will be selected by:                                   31 May 2017
Papers to be submitted by:                                       30 August 2017

More information on the call and the conference can also be found on the conference website.

Please do not hesitate to distribute this call widely within your network. See PDF.

For any further information contact us at: HRDevdays@uantwerpen.be

New Deadline to submit abstracts to the Eighth Multidisciplinary Meeting on Indigenous Peoples (EMPI VIII): 3rd April 2017


El VIII Encuentro Multidisciplinar sobre Pueblos Indígenas de la Red homónima de investigadores sobre asuntos indígenas (https://redempi.wordpress.com) se celebraran la Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao (España en los días 1-2 de junio de 2017 acerca del tema “DILEMAS DEL PLURALISMO JUR̈́ICO”.

Para el envío de resúmenes escribir a: jornadaempi@gmail.com antes que el 3 abril de 2017.

Para mayor información véase en https://redempi.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/dilemas-del-pluralismo-juridico-octavo-encuentro-multidisciplinar-sobre-pueblos-indigenas-empi  

El registro es gratuito para ambos ponentes o asistentes, y se realiza enviando un correo electrónico a la siguiente dirección: jornadaempi@gmail.com





The Eighth Multidisciplinary Meeting on Indigenous Peoples (EMPI VIII) of the homonymous network of researchers on indigenous issues. The 2017 edition will be held at the University of Deusto, Bilbao (Spain) on 1-2 June 2017 on “DILEMMAS OF LEGAL PLURALISM”.

Submission of abstracts to: jornadaempi@gmail.com before April, 3rd, 2017.

For further information, please see the CfP at https://redempi.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/dilemmas-of-legal-pluralism-eighth-multidisciplinary-workshop-on-indigenous-peoples-empi.

Registration: there is no conference fee. Travel and accommodation are covered by the participants. Registration to the conference for both paper presenters and other attendees has to be made sending an email to: jornadaempi@gmail.com


DILEMAS DEL PLURALISMO JURÍDICO Octavo Encuentro Multidisciplinar sobre Pueblos Indígenas (EMPI)

*Nuevo plazo para presentar comunicaciones al EMPI 2017 en Bilbao: 3 de abril*


El Pluralismo Jurídico es aquel contexto en el que se dialectizan y se cruzan dos sistemas jurídicos diferentes y autónomos, pero que coexisten en el mismo campo social, cada uno válido por sí mismo en lo que a fundamento, validez y legitimidad hace referencia. El reconocimiento de la existencia de un Derecho indígena propio es uno de los principales avances conseguidos por los pueblos indígenas en las últimas décadas tanto a nivel interno como en el ámbito internacional. Los sistemas jurídicos indígenas han luchado por sobrevivir durante siglos en un contexto en el que los ordenamientos jurídicos hegemónicos de los Estados lograron imponerse y “colonizar” los Derechos indígenas. Tanto las Constituciones de muchos países como el Convenio 169 de la OIT y la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos de los pueblos indígenas (2007) reconocen la legitimidad de los sistemas jurídicos indígenas, pero establecen los derechos humanos internacionalmente protegidos como límite para la aplicación de dichos sistemas jurídicos. Este Encuentro pretende analizar el proceso de recuperación de los Derechos indígenas y los dilemas sociales, políticos y comunitarios que se plantean cuando estos sistemas jurídicos tienen que convivir con el Derecho del Estado y con el Derecho internacional de los derechos humanos.

Estos son los ejes temáticos sobre los que se estructura el Encuentro:

  • Pluralismo Jurídico y nuevos colonialismos
  • Coexistencia y coordinación entre los Derechos indígenas y los Derechos estatales (Interlegalidad)
  • Sistemas indígenas de aplicación de justicia
  • Derecho indígena y derechos de las mujeres indígenas
  • Jurisprudencia sobre pueblos indígenas
  • Derecho indígena, interculturalidad y derechos humanos
  • Nuevo constitucionalismo latinoamericano y Pluralismo Jurídico

Además de las áreas temáticas enunciadas, el Comité Científico valorará otras propuestas que aborden otras cuestiones indígenas.


Convocatoria de Comunicaciones

Las personas interesadas en presentar una comunicación deberán enviar un resumen (máximo 300 palabras), junto con un breve CV, en castellano, euskera o inglés hasta el 3 de abril a la siguiente dirección: jornadaempi@gmail.com

El 12 de abril se comunicará si la propuesta ha sido aceptada

Lugar: Universidad de Deusto (Bilbao, País Vasco, España)

Fecha: 1 y 2 de junio de 2017

Registro: es gratuito, y se realiza enviando un correo electrónico a la siguiente dirección: jornadaempi@gmail.com


Comité Científico

Amelia Alva, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University, Bélgica

Roberto Cammarata, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia

Felipe Gómez Isa, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Isabel Inguanzo, Universidad Loyola Andalucia, Sevilla

Salvador Martí i Puig, Universitat de Girona, España

Asier Martinez de Bringas, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Silvia Ordoñez Ganoza, Universidad Privada del Norte, Trujillo, Perú

Marzia Rosti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia

Andrea Ruíz Balzola, Consultoría, Investigación y Formación en Diversidad y MigracionesBilbao

Chiara Scardozzi, Università “La Sapienza” Roma, Italia

Alexandra Tomaselli, Accademia Europea Bolzano/Bozen, Italia & Karl-Franzens Universität Graz, Austria

Sara Mabel Villaba, Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA), Paraguay

Gorka Urrutia Asua, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Universidad de Deusto, España

Claire Wright, Universidad de Monterrey, México


Comité Organizador 

Andrea Ruíz Balzola, Consultoría, Investigación y Formación en Diversidad y MigracionesBilbao

Felipe Gómez Isa, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Asier Martinez de Bringas, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ.  Deusto

Gorka Urrutia Asua, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Yesica Álvarez, Universidad del Pais Vasco

DILEMMAS OF LEGAL PLURALISM Eighth Multidisciplinary Workshop on Indigenous Peoples (EMPI)


Legal Pluralism refers to a context in which two different legal systems interact and coexist. Both legal orders are valid as to their foundation and legitimacy. The recognition of the existence of indigenous law is one of the main achievements by indigenous peoples themselves in the last decades both at domestic and at international level. Indigenous legal systems have struggled for survival for centuries in a context in which the hegemonic legal systems of nation-states imposed and “colonized” indigenous legal orders. Both domestic Constitutions and ILO Convention 169 (1989) and the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples (2007) acknowledge the legitimacy of indigenous legal systems, but refer to international human rights as the limit to the application of indigenous law. This workshop is aimed at analyzing the process of recovery of indigenous legal systems, and the social, political and communal dilemmas posed when these local systems have to coexist both with state law and with international human rights law.

The areas of interest of the workshop are:

  • Legal pluralism and new colonialisms
  • Coexistence and coordination between indigenous and state legal systems
  • Indigenous justice systems
  • Indigenous law and the rights of indigenous women
  • Jurisprudence on indigenous peoples
  • Indigenous law, inter-culturalism and human rights
  • New Latin American constitutionalism and legal pluralism

The Scientific Committee will also consider proposals developing other issues relevant to indigenous peoples.


Call for papers

Paper proposals (max. 300 words) in Spanish, English or Euskera are welcome to be submitted by email to: jornadaempi@gmail.com before 3 April 2017. A CV summary (max. 100 words) will also be included.

By 12 April 2017, proposers will be notified whether their proposal has been accepted

Place: University of Deusto (Bilbao, The Basque Country, Spain)

Dates: 1 and 2 June 2017

Registration: there is no conference fee. Travel and accommodation are covered by the participants. Registration to attend the workshop has to be made sending an email to: jornadaempi@gmail.com


Scientific Committee

Amelia Alva, Human Rights Centre, Ghent University, Bélgica

Roberto Cammarata, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia

Felipe Gómez Isa, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Isabel Inguanzo, Universidad Loyola Andalucia, Sevilla

Salvador Martí i Puig, Universitat de Girona, España

Asier Martinez de Bringas, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Silvia Ordoñez Ganoza, Universidad Privada del Norte, Trujillo, Perú

Marzia Rosti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia

Andrea Ruíz Balzola, Consultoría, Investigación y Formación en Diversidad y MigracionesBilbao

Chiara Scardozzi, Università “La Sapienza” Roma, Italia

Alexandra Tomaselli, Accademia Europea Bolzano/Bozen, Italia & Karl-Franzens Universität Graz, Austria

Sara Mabel Villaba, Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA), Paraguay

Gorka Urrutia Asua, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Universidad de Deusto, España

Claire Wright, Universidad de Monterrey, México


EMPI VIII Organizing Committee

Andrea Ruíz Balzola, Consultoría, Investigación y Formación en Diversidad y MigracionesBilbao

Felipe Gómez Isa, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Asier Martinez de Bringas, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ.  Deusto

Gorka Urrutia Asua, Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Univ. Deusto

Yesica Álvarez, Universidad del Pais Vasco


“Discontinuities and Resistance in Latin America” PILAS Annual Conference 2017 University of Leeds 26 – 27 June 2017

DEADLINES 1 March 2017 (papers), and 1 April 2017 (panels)

Latin America is one of the world regions in which borders are malleable or fragile, yet resistant. As its nations seek to establish and assert themselves on a continental and global stage, challenging, and being challenged by, outside influences, historical, political, geographic and economic fault lines often appear to check progress and modernization. One only has to think of Brazil, which recently hosted a truly global mega-event, with its citizens being keen to present their best face to a watching world after years of economic progress. However, this center stage international performance threatened to be undermined by the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and worries over the Zika virus. This multidisciplinary conference seeks to explore the discontinuities and resistance in Latin America from a critical perspective.

The Postgraduates in Latin American Studies (PILAS) Committee invites postgraduate researchers and junior academics from the arts, humanities and social sciences fields to present their work, engage in debate, and share their research on Latin America.

PILAS Annual Conference 2017 will be held at the University of Leeds on the 26 and 27 of June 2017. The Conference is free to attend and will include keynote speakers, a masterclass and engaging social activities.

Professor Eduardo Posada-Carbó (University of Oxford), Professor Manuel Barcia (University of Leeds) and the journalist Patricia Simón (Professional Women in Media Spanish Association Prize Winner) have already confirmed their attendance. 

The theme of the conference is “Discontinuities and Resistance in Latin America”.

We welcome proposals from all fields for this interdisciplinary event. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  1. Race, Ethnicity, and Religion.
  2. Gender and Sexuality.
  3. Political Activism, Conflict, and Violence.
  4. Nationhood and National Identities.
  5. Migration, Geographical and Cultural Borders Studies.
  6. Inter-Cultural Dialogue and Polemics.
  7. Literary and Cultural Criticism.
  8. Literature, Culture, and Translation.
  9. Economic Policies and Economic Inequalities.
  10. Communication and (Digital) Media.
  11. Climate Change and Environmental Crisis.

The conference will consist mainly of traditional panels of 90 minutes, allowing for three papers of 20-minute each, followed by a 30-minutes Q&A. Papers will be presented preferably in English, although presentations in Spanish and Portuguese will be also considered. Panels proposals should allow three papers of 20 minutes each or four papers of 15 minutes each.

Paper proposals should include:

  • Name of the author/s and institution/s.
  • Short academic biography of the author/s.
  • Title of the proposed paper.
  • Short abstract (max. 250 words).
  • All paper proposals must be submitted through this form: ‘Call for Papers submision form

Panel proposals should include:

  • Title of the proposed panel.
  • Short description of the panel’s theme, (max. 250 words).
  • Name and Institution of the Chair and/or Discussant.
  • Name of the authors of the papers and their institutions.
  • Short academic biography of the authors (max. 250 words).
  • All panel proposals must be submitted through this form: Call for Panels submission form

In case of any doubt, you can contact us at pilasconference@gmail.com

Download printable pdf version of this call for papers and panels.

Accepted papers and panels will be announced before the 1st of May 2017.

PILAS offers a limited number of accommodation grants for accepted delegates attending our Annual Conference 2017. Single ensuite rooms for 3 nights and breakfast will be provided by PILAS Committee at Storm Jameson Court, University of Leeds. Apply here for PILAS Conference Accommodation Grants.

PILAS Annual Conference 2017 has the support of the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS), The School of Languages, Cultures & Societies of the University of Leeds, the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH), Leeds City Council, The Instituto Cervantes, Liverpool University Press, The Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies (Routledge, Taylor & Francis). The Centre for the History of Ibero-America (CHIA), The Network for Hispanic and Lusophone Cultural Studies  (HLCS) and the research group ‘Ideas and Identities in the Atlantic World’.

PILAS Conference Accommodation Grants

PILAS offers a limited number of accommodation grants for accepted delegates attending our Annual Conference 2017. Single ensuite rooms for 3 nights and breakfast will be provided by PILAS Committee at Storm Jameson Court, University of Leeds. These grants cannot be exchanged for cash.

Grant recipients are expected to attend for the whole of the 2-days conference and might be invited to act as Chairs and/or Discussants for some of the panels. Grants will be awarded based on the quality of the motivation statement and the paper/panel proposal.

The deadline is 1 April 2017. In order to apply for one of these grants, you should have already submitted a contribution proposal (paper or panel) and complete the following form: https://pilasconference.com/pilas-conference-accommodation-grants/

Grants recipients will be announced before 1 June 2017.


Indigenous right to and forms of (legally recognized) “autonomy”*

Written by: Dr. Alexandra Tomaselli**

Since the late 1980s and throughout the decade of the 1990s, forms of indigenous autonomy or self-government were introduced in the constitutions of five Latin American countries (Nicaragua, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela), two of which (Ecuador and Bolivia) have reinforced such arrangements in their recent constitutional reforms (at least, on paper). In Mexico, boosted by the Zapatista movement, the 2001 constitutional reform also recognised the indigenous right to autonomy, albeit to be implemented at the state (and not federal) level. In Panama, five indigenous Comarcas have been created so far, the first (officially) in 1953, and the last in 2000. Nunavut and Greenland are other two cases of potential indigenous (territorial) autonomies. Since the 1990s, indigenous movements worldwide started to demand autonomy arrangements for indigenous peoples.

However, in the 21st century, called by some the ‘Age of Autonomy’ (Skurbaty 2005, xliii‐xliv), what will indigenous autonomy look like? Is there a right to it for indigenous peoples? Are there indigenous forms of (legally recognized) “autonomy”? How do indigenous peoples envisage their exercise of (the right to) autonomy?

What is “autonomy”?

The scholarly debate on autonomy has intensified since the 1980s. This issue was certainly not new as it had been the object of academic discussions already between the late 19th century and the early 20th century (Welhengama 2000, 97). Albeit originally derived from sociology, this term was adopted in the legal studies when approaching decolonisation, also thanks to its ‘motivating force’ (Harhoff 1986, 31). Indeed, the concept acquires different meanings in each branch of science in which it is used (Heintze 1998, 7).

The term autonomy derives from the Greek words auto (self) and nomos (rule of law) and, in philosophy, it may indicate the personal power to self-determine priorities based on individual rational will (Heintze 1998, 7).

In legal and political terms, autonomy has obviously other implications, especially if conceived as a right. In legal theory, autonomy may refer to self-government, self-rule, self-management, self-administration, home rule and self-legislation (Loukacheva 2005). In political science, it has been associated with independence, self-government, self-determination, self-direction, self-reliance and self-legislation (Loukacheva 2005; Wiberg 1998, 43).

This concept has thus no clear legal boundaries (Harhoff 1986, 31; Welhengama 2000, 98; Heintze 1998, 7; Wiberg 1998, 43), which is due to the lack of a clear conceptualisation of this notion in international law and contrasted with a flourishing praxis at domestic level.

The subdivision of autonomy arrangements into non-territorial autonomies (NTA) and territorial autonomies (TA) in the context of (national) minorities deserves a mention as it may of use also in the case of indigenous peoples. Broadly speaking, an NTA may constitute supra-regional/national organizations for minorities over certain issues e.g., cultural bodies in charge of bilingual education for those dispersed communities (Henrard 2005, 141-142; Hofmann 2008, 6, 9 and 11; Marko 2006, 3-5). A territorial autonomy (TA) aimed to protect a given group, generally speaking, may be found in a specific territory where the group represent the majority, provided with self-ruling bodies by the state (Heintze 1998, 18 and 21; Henrard 2005, 141-142; Hofmann 2008, 6, 9 and 11; Marko 2006, 3-5).

Díaz-Polanco has underlined the difficulty of a catch-all definition given the high degree of diversity present in the autonomy arrangements worldwide. He rather proposes that some ‘basic borders’ [contornos elementales] may be identified, but the historical and socio-political characteristics of the community or group in each single case has to be taken into account (Díaz-Polanco 1991, 151-153).

Finally, the establishment of either a TA or a NTA does not exclude the other, since, in principle, a group could enjoy a TA in a specific territory and a NTA, e.g., outside that territory but within the state borders (Lapidoth 1997, 39).

Is there a right to autonomy for indigenous peoples?

References to autonomy as part or evolution of other existing and entrenched rights under international law, or as a right per se, may be found in a number of both hard and soft law provisions, especially vis-à-vis minorities and indigenous peoples. In this sense, the interrelation between forms of autonomy or self-government and the right to self-determination is rather immediate.

As widely known, the right to self-determination has been highly debated, especially in the sphere of minorities’ and indigenous peoples’ rights. The uneasiness of states regarding the recognition of the right to self-determination for indigenous peoples by the use of the term ‘peoples’ is also well-known and clearly visible, e.g., in the travaux préparatoire of the ILO Convention No.169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries and the wording of its art.1, and the lengthy process of adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Both the Draft Declaration and the UNDRIP contain a right to autonomy, but their wording is different. The Draft Declaration recognises in art.31 the right to autonomy as (possibly, one of) the form to exercise the right to self-determination (‘[i]ndigenous peoples, as a specific form of exercising their right to self-determination […] ’). Art.4 of the UNDRIP may suggest that the right to autonomy is the primary way for indigenous peoples to exercise their right to self-determination (‘[i]ndigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions’). In other words, indigenous peoples shall have the right to self-determination ‘operationalised’ by the right to autonomy, or vice versa. However, to a closer look, art.4 may also suggest that the right to autonomy exists for indigenous peoples as an expression of their (wider) right to self-determination. Hence, indigenous peoples may have the right to autonomy, which derives from their right to self-determination but without limiting the scope of the latter. Hence, the UNDRIP may be the pioneering, necessary and decisive step to recognise that the right to autonomy is emerging in international law, at least for indigenous peoples.

Indigenous forms of (legally recognized) “autonomy”

There are many forms of indigenous autonomy or self-governments experiences or associated (political) structures that do exist de facto despite the lack of legally recognised formal recognition. They are principally governed by indigenous customary law(s) and—to some extent—tolerated by public authorities (Rodríguez Piñero-Royo 2010, 329 and 334).

A number of (legally recognized) territorial indigenous autonomy arrangements may be found (among others) in the following countries: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Greenland (Denmark), India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nunavut, Panama, Venezuela, Taiwan and USA. Many of them have to be further developed and empowered, and the majority suffer from serious limitations.

These TA experiences may be indicatively grouped in three macro-categories, as follows. First, indigenous autonomy arrangements that have been legally established as a result of conflict resolutions (Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh; Papua and Aceh in Indonesia; the Atlantic Coast in Nicaragua; and the system of the comarcas in Panama). Second, the self-government arrangements derived from high-level debates which were followed by incisive constitutional or domestic law reforms (the Indigenous Peasant Native Autonomies in Bolivia; the circunscripciones in Ecuador; the indigenous municipalities in Venezuela; the indigenous autonomies of Mexico; the mainly aboriginal territory of Nunavut in Canada; the reformed autonomy of Greenland from Denmark; the Panchayat system in India; and the Toroko Nation in Taiwan). Finally, a third category may include past arrangements developed into new legal autonomy arrangements by constitutional or other amendments of domestic laws (the resguardos system in Colombia and the Native Americans’ reservations in USA, respectively). This categorisation, however, is most probably not exhaustive and there may be substantial overlapping. For instance, one may argue that also in Panama, Bolivia and Ecuador there were past arrangements, e.g., during or after Spanish colonisation. Despite some limitations, this suggested subdivision tries to classify these experiences looking at how forms of indigenous autonomies have been framed and regulated by each domestic legislation actually in force.

Concluding remarks

The notion of both ‘autonomy’ and a potential ‘right to autonomy’ are blurred and undetermined. No international (binding) treaty recognises a right to autonomy (Heintze 1998, 13; Skurbaty 2005, xxxvii) neither for regions nor for specific groups. Art.4 of the UNDRIP may be considered as a pioneering recognition of the right to autonomy of indigenous peoples. Moreover, the states’ practice is particularly advanced with regard to the recognition of forms of (territorial) indigenous autonomies.

Regrettably, these forms of (legally recognized) indigenous (terrestrial) autonomies face huge implementation difficulties irrespective of their legal or, in some cases, even constitutional guarantees. The implementations problems may be due both to a lack of political will, and to the competing economic interests over the natural resources found on these territories.

The analysis of whether the past colonial systems may have had an influence on the current autonomy systems would be instructive. However, the current debate and the present-day autonomy arrangements enjoyed by some indigenous groups can hardly be traced back in history or equated with the colonial legal systems. The historical conditions are not comparable or easily analysable, nor are the concepts of autonomy and of the right to autonomy conceived in the same manner.

Even more enlightening and welcomed would be a thorough study of indigenous perceptions and thoughts on the right to autonomy.

In this regard, one of the latest and among the most concrete proposals coming from indigenous organizations regarding what should be their form of (territorial) autonomy has emerged out of Bolivia.  A proposal on how the (mainly, territorial) indigenous autonomies should be constituted was elaborated by a number of large Bolivian indigenous organizations in 2006 and focused on a territorial form of autonomy (Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia et al. 2006). These Bolivian organizations see ‘indigenous autonomy’ as the (pre)condition for indigenous peoples’ freedom, decolonisation and self-determination (Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia et al. 2006, 11). The main characteristics of (territorial) forms of autonomy for indigenous peoples in their opinion should be the following: a territory; culturally diverse population; indigenous customary self-government; customary rules; customary law and justice; control and collective management over the territory, the land and the natural resources (Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia et al. 2006, 12). In particular, this form of autonomy shall have also powers for natural resources management and exploitation, e.g., via consultation, the possibility of indigenous peoples’ veto on legislative or administrative measures, or a share of the benefits (Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia et al. 2006, 12-13).


Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB); Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia (CIDOB); Confederación Sindical de Colonizadores de Bolivia (CSCB); Federación Nacional de Mujeres Campesinas de Bolivia – “Bartolina Sisa” (FNMCB-BS); Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ); Coordinadora de Pueblos Étnicos de Santa Cruz (CPESC); Movimiento Sin Tierra de Bolivia (MST); Asamblea del Pueblo Guaraní (APG); Confederación de Pueblos Étnicos Moxeños de Beni (CPEMB), Asamblea Nacional de Organizaciones Indígenas, Originarias, Campesinas y de Colonizadores de Bolivia, 2006. ‘Propuesta para la Nueva Constitución Política del Estado. Por un Estado plurinacional y la autodeterminación de los pueblos y naciones indígenas, originarias y campesinas’, 5 August 2006, at http://www.bivica.org/upload/constitucion-politica-propuesta.pdf (Last accessed 16 January 2017).

Díaz-Polanco, H., 1991. Autonomía regional. La autodeterminación de los pueblos indios, Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno Editores.

Harhoff , F., 1986. ‘Institutions of Autonomy’, Nordic Journal of International Law 55: 31-40.

Heintze, H. J., 1998. ‘On the Legal Understanding of Autonomy’, in Suksi, M. (ed), Autonomy: Applications and Implications, The Hague, Cambridge, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 7-32.

Henrard, K., 2005. ‘”Participation”, “Representation” and “Autonomy” in the Lund Recommendations and their Reflections in the Supervision of the FCNM and Several Human Rights Conventions’, International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 12: 133-168.

Hofmann, R., 2008. ‘Political Participation of Minorities’, European Yearbook of Minority Issues 2006/7, Vol. 6, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 5-17.

Lapidoth, R., 1997. Autonomy: Flexible solutions to ethnic conflicts, Washington D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.

Loukacheva, N., 2005. ‘On Autonomy and Law’, Globalization and Autonomy Online Compendium Research Articles, No. 19, July 2005.

Marko, J., 2006. ‘Effective Participation of National Minorities: A Comment on Conceptual, Legal and Empirical Problems’, Council of Europe Document DH-MIN(2006)014.

Rodríguez Piñero-Royo, L., 2010. ‘Political Participation Systems Applicable to Indigenous Peoples’, in M. Weller and K. Nobbs (eds.), Political Participation of Minorities. A Commentary on International Standards and Practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sanders, D., 1986. ‘Is Autonomy a Principle of International Law?’, Nordic Journal of International Law 55: 17-21.

Skurbaty, Z.A., 2005. ‘Introduction’, in Z.A. Skurbaty (ed), Beyond a One-Dimensional State: An Emerging Right to Autonomy?, Leiden, Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Welhengama, G., 2000. Minorities’ Claims: From Autonomy to Secession. International Law and State Practice, Aldershot, Burlington: Ashgate.

Wiberg, M., 1998. “Political Autonomy: Ambiguities and Clarifications”, in Suksi, M. (ed), 1998. Autonomy: Applications and Implications, The Hague, Cambridge, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 43-57.

*This short text is based on her article titled “Exploring Indigenous Self‐governments and Forms of Autonomies”, in Corinne Lennox and Damien Short (eds.), Handbook of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Routledge, London, New York, 2016, pp.83-100, https://www.routledge.com/products/9781857436419.

**Dr. Alexandra Tomaselli is a Senior Researcher at the European Academy Bolzano/Bozen – Eurac Research (Italy) and a Teaching fellow/Contract Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Graz (Austria). Since 2006, she has engaged in research and international cooperation projects in Europe, South Asia and Latin America.