Aboriginal Land Claims and Treaty Rights
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Land is one of the most important resources among the human beings as it is considered a very valuable asset. Land is used as a factor of production in many parts of the world. It is also used for other social and religious purposes in different parts of the world. Thus, the issues related to land rights should be taken care of for the purpose ensuring that people in various parts of the world live peacefully with one another. A number of treaties and laws on land management have been formulated with an aim of dealing with land related problems in the world. The government and international bodies such UN. The issue of aboriginal land claims and treaty rights has been subject of controversy in different parts of the world. Aboriginal land claims are those rights that indigenous people of a certain place have to land. The rights can either be collective or individual. It is important to understand that resources and land rights are of basic importance to the original people due to a number of reasons. The rights are important due to significance of carried by the land in question, for instance the religious and cultural importance of the land, identity, self determination as well as economic factors. Studies have shown that most of the people who live in forests largely depend on different natural resources provided by their land for purposes of fulfilling their basic needs. Fishing, gathering and hunting of products from the forest and tilling of small plots of land tend to form a basis of economic activities within which they rely on.
This paper is concerned with identifying the international laws on aboriginal land claims as well as the treaty rights that indigenous people are entitled to in the management of their ancestral land. In the recent years their plight has been ignored leading to them losing their land and say when it comes to usage of their ancestral land by governments for economic and other commercial activities. The paper will also focus on the reason behind bestowing the aboriginal land claims and treaty rights of the indigenous people.
Indigenous people should have right to aboriginal land claims and any form of treatment that involves their ancestral land as this directly affects their lives. Failure to involve the people in any decision regarding the future use of their land denies them the right to claim their indigenous land. Thus, aboriginal land claim rights should solely be bestowed on the indigenous landowners and should be protected through domestic and international law.
Indigenous land as home
In order for people to survive they largely depend on their ancestral land. Ancestral land is of great significance to the indigenous people as it serves a different purpose. To start with, the land is their home and they have no other place that they can call home apart from the land within which they are staying. It is thus important to ensure that the indigenous people of a given region have the right to claim aboriginal land as it acts as their home (Eede, 2009). Any treaty that relate to usage of the land by an outsider should be formulated with the involvement of the indigenous people. Entering into treaties with other parties on the usage of the land in question without involving the indigenous people amounts to forcefully take away what is rightfully theirs. Therefore, their rights to claim the land should be protected at all times and any decision involve future use of the land they should be the first party to be consulted given that the land is their home.
Land in most cultures around the world carries some religious significance to the inhabitants. Thus, the indigenous people of the regions should be given the right to claim the land for the purposes of protecting their cultural heritage (Bouma et al., 2010). Human beings need help from a supernatural being for them to survive. Therefore, over their history different people have developed shrines where they can pray to their gods and seek for help. The indigenous people have their interest in ensuring that the landmarks that carry some religious significance are protected at all cost. The only way that these places could be protected is by ensuring that the people who own a certain land as their ancestors have the right to claim the land and any treat that involves the usage of the land with an outside party they are directly involved. These rights play a great role in ensuring that that their right to worship is not denied by ensuring that any commercial activity involving the usage of their indigenous land does not destroy their places of worship.
Source of livelihood
Finally, the aboriginal land act as a source of food and income for the indigenous people. For instance, the forest inhabitants such as hunters and gathers call the forest their home. Any decision involves the usage of the forest in question they should be directly involved because their survival largely depend on that forest (Mitchell, 2001). Thus, they opt to have the right to claim their land as well as anything involved treaty that is related to the land in question
Over the years a number of laws have been developed at domestic and international level with an aim of ensuring that the rights of indigenous people to own land are protected at all times. Some of the notable international laws that has been passed in relation to the aboriginal right land claims as well as treaty rights include: “Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial discrimination, American Convention on Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” (Robertson, 2005).
Common law is also widely applied when it comes to aboriginal land claims where the land rights of the indigenous people have the right to ownership of the land more than the government or any other party has right over the ownership of the land in question. The international laws provide the indigenous people with power and rights to claim their ancestral land at any time and to be involved in the process of formulating a treaty on the use of their land by any other party (Richardson, Imai & McNeil, 2009).
The right of indigenous people to own land should be promoted at all times and international bodies should be in the forefront in ensuring that these rights are enhanced. Domestic governments have a role to play in formulating land policies that are aimed at ensuring that all people have the right to own land. Indigenous people should have right to aboriginal land claims and any form of a treaty that involves their ancestral land as this directly affect their lives. It is true after this study that fails to involve the people in any decision regarding the future use of their land denies them the right to claim their indigenous land. In conclusion the rights should be used at all times to ensure that the survival of this group of marginalized people is granted given that their survival largely depends on the existence of a home for them to live.
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