Indigenous Rights as Human Rights: A Solution to the Land Issue in Africa
It seemed like the right thing to do to address the issue of land before anything else. At a later date I will engage in a discussion around economic oppression and corruption of governments in post colonial Africa. Today however, I would like to talk about land reform in South Africa and rights of indigenous people.
Towards the end of Apartheid in South Africa there seemed to be an ‘agreement’ that was reached about land reform and returning the land that was transferred to whites, back to the indigenous groups of South Africa. The nature of these agreements is slightly iffy to me, for lack of better wording. There is something extremely inhumane and uncomfortable about taking a person’s belongings then dictating under what circumstances they can get their belongings back. This is exactly what happened. Black people in South Africa were distracted with ideas of illegitimate integration and the ‘spirit of Mandela’ while white capitalists placed land reform even further down on the agenda. Years after South Africa’s independence and the indigenous people are barely free because they are stricken with poverty in a country where racism is operating at an institutional level in every single sector. How about that?
The essay I have written about this topic was written mostly from an international law perspective and I did my best to slightly sideline the politics. I discuss the effectiveness of attacking the land issue as an indigenous human right and whether the idea of rights can be a saving grace in this regard. The idea of rights has been discussed ALOT among scholars and is a personal favorite legal discussion of mine. I will say it now, rights are only useful as tools of mobilization (lets discuss this at a later date).
Please follow the link before for the essay:
I have also copied and pasted the bibliography below because I always do it separately. The referencing style is the South African Law Journal House Style.
B Atuahene ‘South Africa’s Land Reform Crisis: Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid’ (2011) 90 Foreign Affairs 4.
A Desai ‘We Are the Poors: Community Struggles in Post-Apartheid South Africa’ (2002)
J Modiri ‘Introducing Critical Race Theory in Post-Apartheid South Africa’ (2012) 28 SAJHR.
J Muchangama ‘Against a Human Rights Based Approach to Social Justice’ (2015) http://justitia-int.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-09-24_Amnesty_Can-human-rights-bring-social-justice_essay1.pdf
S Sheingold ‘The Politics of Rights: Lawyers, Public Policy and Political Change’ 2 ed (2004) University of Michigan Press: United States.
Australians Together “International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” at 1. http://www.australianstogether.org.au/stories/detail/international-declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples
The United Nations Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Human Rights System(2013).
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).
United Nations Meetings Coverage :Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2012) HR/5093