Europe and the rights of indigenous peoples

By Irène Bellier


This article explores the relationship of European Union (EU) member states to “indigenous issues” since the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The colonial legacy, as well as divides over the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, explain why these questions are not part of the acquis communautaire. The region has a human rights system, but the member states barely incorporate the rights of indigenous peoples into their legislation, in particular when it comes to industrial or commercial matters. Nevertheless, the EU is beginning to show a greater awareness of the issues, and there have been a number of encouraging developments.


  • Indigenous peoples
  • European Union
  • Self-determination
  • Rights of indigenous peoples
  • Human rights
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