Britain Blocks Protection for Indigenous People


The British government blocked an attempt by the indigenous populations from having their rights being protected under international law. The indigenous people are those persons who descended from the early inhabitants of a nation before colonialism. They live in distinct societies which are different when compared to other residents. There are approximately more than 450 million people in the world who identify themselves as being indigenous and are found across all continents. The most common indigenous people in the current society are the Maoris, Native Americans and Aboriginals. According to ‘The Independent’, Britain was blocking the attempt by the indigenous populations from having their rights being protected by the international law. The international law applies across all nations and thus the indigenous people wanted world recognition and protection as a specified group of people. Britain was blocking the attempt by more than 300 million indigenous people in 2001 at the world conference against racism in Durban. The British government stated that “the use of the term indigenous peoples cannot be constructed as having any implications to rights under international law”. Britain argued that these people needed no international protection. The aboriginal people are a huge and significant part of the society as they give the nation, its cultural heritage and history of its existence.

The world is basically made up of a big number of indigenous people who arguably need to be protected against any forms of exploitation. The international law and the involved nations can protect them as they are a significant part of the world history. Losing them would be like losing a big part of our past and thus would shape and shed society in a bad light. The indigenous people are mostly exposed and not protected by law as their cultures and way of living is affected by the growing industrial and technological society. They cannot be able to keep their culture and traditions effectively as the education standards aren’t inclusive and therefore lead to the loss of their culture. The human rights lawyers reported to be disgusted and shocked by British government’s stand given that the nation doesn’t have indigenous populations. Since the nation doesn’t have any indigenous community, it arguably shouldn’t voice its opinion against the indigenous minorities anywhere in the world. The British government argued that it was acting on behalf of Canada and Australia as the countries would have political difficulty if they tried to curtail rights of their minority groups.

The human rights of the indigenous populations would be undermined if the international doesn’t protect them effectively. The representative of human rights argued that the move by Britain undermined self-determination and also the fundamental rights of indigenous people. Their fundamental rights include the rights to culture, fishing and hunting, language and land ownership. Denying the people such rights would be arguably a slap in the face to the human rights. Such people have their diverse rights just like all people in the society and since they are marginalized, ought to be protected more. If they aren’t protected by law, then they risk going extinct and thus the nations as well as the society will lose a part of its heritage. Such communities ought to be encouraged and controlled effectively and not being exploited. The Independent points out how the Cree people were displaced from a 400,000 square kilometer territory in Quebec. 13,000 people were forcefully pushed out to give way for a hydroelectric development. In this context, the people were forced out and thus their rights were violated. The people arguably needed a compensation as the displacement affected their well-being. The people were not consulted during the project and thus the human rights activists asked that the indigenous populations be consulted in future.

The British Minority Rights International Mark Lattimer said that the governors are afraid of indigenous groups getting new rights. Denying the indigenous groups their rights and undermining their existing protection will be unfair and a form of prejudice to the minorities. The society ought to protect the people based on the international law where all people have same rights. Therefore, the conference needed to come up with measures which would be able to protect rights of all groups and people without necessarily having to change the principles of human rights law. The British government could be arguably right to be denying such groups international protection. It’s because offering them more protection could mean other groups would come out and ask for the same. The women groups, children groups and even refugee groups would ask for further international protection as well. Therefore, the indigenous groups should ask for further protection in their home countries and not necessarily from international law. It’s because the laws which govern a nation differ with international law in term of running their internal affairs. All the nations need to do is to ensure there is inclusion of the minorities in running of their affairs.

The indigenous people are in millions and live in all continents of the world. They are the minority groups in some parts of the globe but also make up the majority in some countries. They make up to 80 per cent of the population in Laos and Bolivia and thus are the majority group. The major problem which the indigenous people face is systematic repression. There are a number of traditional institutions for indigenous people which exist in the society. However, Greenland is the only region in the world which is made up of an indigenous government. It showcases the major problem of inclusion in the governments of the world since few of them have included their minority indigenous groups. They have felt marginalized in the society and therefore try to push for inclusion and a stake in the running of their affairs. Since the indigenous populations are an important part of world history and the society. The society should therefore work towards ensuring such minority groups are uplifted and identified as an important part of the society. The indigenous people make up a significant part of the world and the history of mankind before civilization. They don’t necessarily need international protection but should be protected within their borders. The individual countries such as Canada, Australia, USA and other nations with native inhabitants need to make up laws to protect and include their aboriginal communities.


The indigenous people are an important part of world history. They help in tracking the development of man and the technological as well as industrial evolutions which have taken place. Britain blocked an attempt by the indigenous people getting protection under international law. The British government was right to block the attempt as it could have led to further complications in the society. Other minority groups could have arguably came out and asked for identification and protection. However, they need protection in their home countries where they could further ask for inclusion. The society shouldn’t lose the aboriginal and indigenous populations as they show the major developments and act as a link between the past and present society. The indigenous people deserve to be given rights and which aid in protecting their tradition, language and culture as long as they don’t negatively impact the society. The international law can protect the indigenous populations through pushing for rights and priorities within their country setting and not necessarily on the international platform.