Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples in South-East Asia

By Xanthaki, Alexandra | Melbourne Journal of International Law, October 2003 | Go to article overview

Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples in South-East Asia


Xanthaki, Alexandra, Melbourne Journal of International Law


[Very little has been written on indigenous rights in South-East Asia. This article attempts to address issues concerning indigenous land rights in the region, arguing that there is a clear gap between the existing situation and the relevant standards of the international human rights system. After a short overview of the international human rights framework currently binding South-East Asian states, the article analyses issues of indigenous land ownership and control by indigenous peoples over matters affecting their land rights. The article then discusses traditional economic activities, natural resources, indigenous environmental management and finally to issues of relocation and compensation. In each of the aforementioned areas, indigenous land rights are generally non-existent or very weak. Even on occasions when national legislation has recognised strong indigenous land rights, the lack of political motivation to properly enforce these rights impedes their full realisation. The article demonstrates that this inadequacy is inconsistent with international standards on the prohibition of discrimination, protection of minority cultures and more specifically on indigenous land rights, as are recognised in international instruments, interpreted by international bodies and transferred into national practices.]

CONTENTS

I    Introduction
II   The General Framework
III  Collective Ownership and Possession
IV   Consultation and Participation
V    Traditional Activities and Natural Resources
VI   Relocation
VII  Restitution and Compensation
VIII Conclusions

I INTRODUCTION

Recent reports suggest that indigenous peoples in South-East Asia face serious problems, some of which endanger their very survival in a rapidly changing environment. (1) Despite the gravity of the indigenous peoples' situation, indigenous rights in South-East Asia have attracted relatively little interest from the international legal community. Voices from Australia, New Zealand and North America have been more prominent within the transnational indigenous movement. Although their perspectives have given voice to needs that are similar to those of indigenous peoples in other regions, by virtue of their prominence they have also muffled the voices of their South-East Asian counterparts. These voices do not pierce the global consciousness with the same force--few Asian groups have had the means to maintain active involvement in the international arena and to put their claims on the international agenda.

At the same time, South-East Asian states consistently abstain from participating in the international human rights fora and monitoring bodies that address indigenous rights issues. For instance, United Nations treaty-based bodies have repeatedly reprimanded South-East Asian states for not submitting the required monitoring reports. (2) Likewise, these states have not been vocal in UN debates on indigenous rights. (3) This reluctance to become more directly involved leads to the limited availability of credible information regarding indigenous peoples' rights, and more importantly, a lack of serious discussion with the states about the situation of indigenous groups in their territories.

This article attempts to shed some light on the situation of indigenous peoples in South-East Asia, namely Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Although the broad geographical focus of the article runs the risk of making some generalisations, research has shown that land rights disputes constitute a fundamental concern for all indigenous peoples in the region.

Projects implemented by transnational corporations currently pose the main threat to indigenous land rights and continuing survival on these lands. Developing states generally welcome international corporations and are willing to cooperate with them, even at the expense of the environment and local populations, because they view further involvement with these corporations as a means to advance their own country's economic development.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples in South-East Asia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.