From International to Provincial Law: UNDRIP in Practice

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Marina Bishara


Human rights are thought to be universal. Yet, for some, they are easier to acquire than it is for others. Some have voices to represent them, such as their countries, but what about those who’s ‘nations’ do not fit traditional international law’s definition of ‘a nation’? The legislation addressing their human rights must be adopted and subsequently implemented by their respective Nation-States. This is the case for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canada. After eight years of opposition, Canada finally acceded to the declaration.

Nevertheless, it is up to the provinces to harmonize their laws with UNDRIP. This research examines why British Columbia became the first province to adopt the document. We present three different perspectives: that of civil society, indigenous groups and the provincial government. Our discussions provide insight into how provincial laws can be attuned to international human rights law.

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Global politics past and present: new understandings, policy and legal decisions