An Introduction to Global Perspectives on Social Justice and Human Rights

Cengage Learning
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Nelson Aboriginal Studies, 2011, 1, pp. 137 - 152
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The following chapters explore social justice and human rights in relation to Indigenous peoples in Australia and internationally. This chapter uses case studies to explore how some nations, such as New Zealand, Canada and the US, have dealt with Indigenous people's rights. There are an estimated 370 million Indigenous people worldwide living in around 70 different nations (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2006). Indigenous peoples have borne the heavy impacts of colonialism. Though invasion or colonisation tended to occur in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, its legacies continue to affect Indigenous peoples today in many ways, such as: the lack of recognition of their rights to their lands and waters; their right to live as they desire and to maintain their cultures; their experiences of racism; and their socioeconomic position. They have challenged colonialism and its impacts on them, and fought hard to protect their rights. Situations vary across communities, depending on the timing of colonialism and subsequent treaties (or lack thereof), as well as domestic government policy. Socioeconomic indicators show the ongoing impacts of colonialism in the present living conditions of Indigenous people. They are markers of the relative position of a group to the rest of a nation's population, in areas such as levels of education, health, employment, income, experience of law and justice, housing and service access. These show that Indigenous peoples worldwide experience major disadvantage compared with their fellow citizens.
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