The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) codifies and shows the scope of indigenous political and cultural rights. It recognises that the universal right to self-determination belongs to peoples as well as to individuals and that it belongs in cultural context. The Declaration’s ultimate public policy significance is its presumption that all people are inherently equal, and that domestic political arrangements should give substantive effect to that equality. The Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, but opposed by Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States – settler states with similar colonial histories, and states which have since expressed support for the Declaration as ‘aspirational’.
In this lecture, Associate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan will show that the Declaration’s two overarching objectives are to affirm an indigenous people’s right to maintain and develop its own political authority and consider what it means for an indigenous person to enjoy the capacities of state citizenship in substantively equal fashion; in ways that are culturally meaningful and responsive to colonial context.
About the speaker: Dominic O’Sullivan is Associate Professor of Political Science and Senior Research Fellow at Charles Sturt University, Canberra. He has published 6 books and more than 55 journal articles and book chapters on topics in comparative indigenous politics and public policy. His books include Indigenous: health, power, politics and citizenship (Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015) and Indigeneity: a politics of potential – Australia, Fiji and New Zealand (Bristol: Policy Press, 2017). Associate Professor O’Sullivan is a regular contributor to the Conversation, Open Forum, Newsroom and the Oxford Human Rights Hub. He is a political commentator for ABC Radio and a member of New Zealand’s Te Rarawa and Ngati Kahu tribes.