India: the blur of a distinction: Adivasis experience with land rights, self-rule and autonomy

Gilbert, Jérémie (2005) India: the blur of a distinction: Adivasis experience with land rights, self-rule and autonomy. In: International Law and Indigenous Peoples. Castellino, Joshua and Walsh, Niamh, eds. Raoul Wallenberg Institute human rights library (20) . Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden, pp. 269-292. ISBN 900414336x. [Book Section]

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The indigenous peoples of India, the Adivasis, represent the largest indigenous population within the borders of a state. According to the United Nations there are over 300 million indigenous peoples in the world and 70 million of them live in India. The indigenous population of India represents more than 8 percent of the total Indian population. The indigenous peoples of India live in different parts of the country, from the northern mountains down to the central and southern plains of India and represent an astonishing complex and rich account of the world cultural diversity.
The purpose of the present chapter is twofold. Firstly, it seeks to emphasise that even though the Indian legislation provides the Adivasis population with specific entitlements over their territories, those rights are not properly enforced or are often violated. Secondly, this chapter proposes to explore the issue of the recognition of indigenous land rights and its fundamental linkage with the recognition of indigenous customary land tenure systems, and autonomy vis-à-vis internal legislation. In this regard, the case of the Adivasis of India reveals that the distinction often made in international law between autonomy and collective land rights is empirically blurred by the practical experience that the Adivasis have lived in the very recent past. Ultimately, the present chapter seeks to argue that the failure of the central government to ensure indigenous peoples’ ownership of their lands has ratcheted up the struggle of the Adivasis to a phase where claims for autonomy and self-determination are becoming the main focus of indigenous survival across the country.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 7227
Notes on copyright: Embargoed, awaiting copyright clearance (3/3/11)
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Depositing User: Dr. J Gilbert
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2011 10:51
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2021 14:19

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