Are There Any Defensible Indigenous Rights?

Contemporary Political Theory 1 (3):285-305 (2002)

Gillian Brock
University of Auckland
In recent years, a number of important challenges have been raised about whether arguments for granting group rights in virtue of ethnicity can really stand up to scrutiny. Two of the most pressing issues involve whether granting rights to groups in virtue of ethnicity involves a certain unfairness to non-members and whether granting such rights licenses unfairness to members . If arguments for indigenous rights are to succeed, they must address these challenges and show how there is no important unfairness to non-members or members.Several arguments for indigenous rights are discussed, to show how they fall prey to one or both of the unfairness objections. The article goes on to offer an argument as to how proponents of indigenous rights might respond to claims that such rights discriminate obnoxiously between groups. This approach can accommodate the force of indigenous peoples’ claims and so grant certain kinds of groups rights, without at the same time licensing the group's oppression of its more vulnerable members. Moreover, since the argument appeals to considerations typically thought persuasive in liberal theory, it should be attractive to liberals
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DOI 10.1057/palgrave.cpt.9300052
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