Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Natural Justice Contributes Chapter to New Book on Indigenous Peoples' Access to Justice

On 19 May 2014, the Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights held a side event during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to launch a new book, "Indigenous Peoples' Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes." The book arises out of an Expert Seminar on the same subject, held at Columbia University  from 27 February to 1 March 2013 that was co-hosted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Center for Transitional Justice and Columbia University.

Natural Justice contributed a chapter to the book, entitled "Introducing the Living Convention and a Landscape Approach to Legal Empowerment." The chapter discusses the Living Convention  a resource that serves as a first step in addressing a fundamental barrier to obtaining access to justice, which is a lack of knowledge of legal rights. It then discusses landscape approaches to legal empowerment, and calls on legal practitioners to take a holistic view of rights and the law by recognizing the interrelationships among different laws and different options for implementation. This is what Natural Justice seeks to do in its own work, including with the Living Convention as well as support for community protocols.

At the side event, several of the authors were invited to speak, including Jael Makagon, as well as Valmaine Toki on ways that the New Zealand criminal justice system is incorporating indigenous traditions, Marcia Esparza on the relationship between the Guatemalan army and indigenous peoples, and Erika Sasson on indigenous approaches to justice in the US state court system. Elsa Stamatopoulou, Director of the Ιndigenous Peoples' Rights Program at Columbia University and co-edtior of the book, also discussed her chapter on the challenge of time and responses of international human rights law.

For information on obtaining copies of the book, please contact Jael at jael.eli(at)

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