Government-Sponsored Population Policies and Indigenous Peoples: Challenges for International Human Rights Law

Pereira, R. 2015. Government-Sponsored Population Policies and Indigenous Peoples: Challenges for International Human Rights Law. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. 33 (4), pp. 437-483. doi:10.1177/016934411503300405

TitleGovernment-Sponsored Population Policies and Indigenous Peoples: Challenges for International Human Rights Law
TypeJournal article
AuthorsPereira, R.
Abstract

This paper examines whether indigenous peoples’ right to reproductive autonomy can be established from the right to self-determination and to health under international human rights law, and the extent to which their reproductive health rights can be effectively protected against government-sponsored population policies. Historically there have been instances of government population policies targeting specifically or primarily indigenous peoples. This includes the US sterilisation programmes in the 1970s and Australia’s removal of Aboriginal children to live with foster white families (1900– 1969), as well as in more recent years Peru’s family planning programme (1996–2000). The past decade has seen some important developments in this field, in particular the Australian Government’s symbolically important ‘apology’ to the ‘Stolen Generation’ in 2008, and the proposal for a state Stolen Generations (Compensation) Bill 2014, which, if adopted, could provide a measure of reparation for past policies. At the global level a number of important initiatives on population policies have developed, the most recent being the second international conference on population and development in Cairo in 2014. This paper argues that the right to self-determination, to health and to prior and informed consent, which includes the right to self-government and autonomy, must also include the indigenous right to reject government policies that subject communities to birth control programmes.

JournalNetherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Journal citation33 (4), pp. 437-483
ISSN0169-3441
Year2015
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/016934411503300405
Web address (URL)http://www.nqhr.net
Publication dates
PublishedDec 2015

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