Survival, dignity and wellbeing: Indigenous rights and transformative approaches to justice



Publication Details

Cunneen, C. & Tauri, J. (2017). Survival, dignity and wellbeing: Indigenous rights and transformative approaches to justice. In L. Weber, E. Fishwick & M. Marmo (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Criminoloogy and Human Rights (pp. 429-439). Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.


In considering the intersection between Indigenous people and human rights, there are potentially three broad areas of interest to criminology. These are: compliance with international human rights treaties; the question of redress for historical abuses of human rights; and, finally, the role of normative human rights principles that have emerged in the last decade and apply specifically to Indigenous peoples. The high levels of criminalization and hyper-incarceration of Indigenous people in settler colonial societies (Cunneen et al. 2013, Cunneen and Tauri forthcoming) raise fundamental compliance questions with a range of treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention against Torture, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The United Nations (UN) monitoring committees for these treaties regularly question the compliance of countries like Australia, Canada and the United States (US) in relation to their treatment of Indigenous peoples within criminal justice systems (Cunneen and Tauri forthcoming). The long-term effects of the policies and practices of colonization have also given rise to claims for redress for historical human rights abuses. The specific nature of these claims for redress varies between settler colonial states. However, they have included reparations for the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families and their treatment in residential schools, and various abuses of Indigenous trust funds and other state-controlled monies, including fraud, corruption and mismanagement (Cunneen 2012).

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