Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Law Library

International Indigenous Law Research Guide

This research guide is designed to assist students and scholars in researching international indigenous law topics. The guide focuses on key resources for public international law related to indigenous peoples, with particular attention paid to relevant secondary sources, key international documents, United Nations resources, European Union resources, and current awareness sources. 


Treatises, Journals, and Other Secondary Sources


You can find more titles in the ASU Libraries collection related to indigenous peoples by searching the ASU online catalog under the following subject headings: Indigenous peoples – legal status, laws, etc. and Indigenous peoples – government relations.

International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples (S. James Anaya, Aspen Publishers 2009)
International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples is a compilation of materials on international indigenous human rights. The text addresses issues such as self-determination, collective rights, lands and resources, and state responsibility for historical wrongs, as well as includes background information on the various international institutions that address indigenous issues and copies of the major international documents concerning indigenous peoples.

Indigenous Peoples in International Law
(S. James Anaya, Oxford University Press 2004)
This book offers an overview of the historical and contemporary developments in international indigenous law, as well as provides information on international procedures and norm implementation.   It also includes copies of major international documents related to indigenous law.

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights: International and Regional Jurisprudence (Ben Saul Hart Publishing, 2016)
This book covers the law relating to the human rights of indigenous peoples, such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee, U.N. treaty bodies, and the human rights system of the Organization of American States.

International Indigenous Policy Journal
The International Indigenous Policy Journal is an open access peer-reviewed policy-focused journal founded in 2010 which publishes articles on issues pertaining to indigenous peoples throughout the world.

Indigenous Law Journal
The Indigenous Law Journal is published by the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. The Journal is primarily concerned with Indigenous legal systems and laws that affect Indigenous peoples; it publishes articles concerning both Canadian and international law topics. It is available through LexisNexis Academic.

Indigenous Law Bulletin
The International Law Bulletin is published by the University of New South Wales. It contains articles on Australia’s Indigenous peoples and the law, with emphasis on topics related to sovereignty, land rights, criminal justice, treaties, human rights, intellectual property, cultural heritage, biodiversity, and international and comparative law. The Bulletin is available through HeinOnline.

Fourth World Journal
The Fourth World Journal is published by the Center for World Indigenous Studies.   The Journal publishes analysis, ideas, and scholarship on the environment, politics, history, economics, social change, traditional knowledge systems, and creative arts. It can be accessed through Academic Search Premier.

Other Secondary Resources
Ross-Blakley Law Library Guide to Finding Books and Articles on an International Law Topic
This research guide details how to find articles published in journals worldwide, as well as search for books in the ASU online catalog and WorldCat.
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals indexes 500 legal journals published worldwide, with a focus on international, comparative, and foreign law journals. It includes content for all jurisdictions other than the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Coverage is from 1985 to the present.

International & Non-U.S. Law Journals (HeinOnline)
This HeinOnline library contains journals focused on international law topics as well as journals published outside of the United States.

Foreign and International Law Resources Database (HeinOnline)
This HeinOnline database is divided into five parts: (1) international yearbooks and serials, (2) U.S. law digests, (3) international tribunals/judicial decisions, (4) other significant works related to foreign & international law, (5) Court of Justice of the European Communities.

International and Foreign Legal Research: A Coursebook (Marci Hoffman and Mary Rumsey, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2012)
This book provides a wealth of information on researching foreign and international law. It discusses how to locate primary law sources as well as background and secondary sources, and has chapters on English translations of foreign-language documents, commentary and analysis, internet research, public international law, foreign and comparative law, and international organizations.  The coursebook is also available as an e-book (on campus or ASURITE).

Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law
The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law is an online resource that contains peer-reviewed articles on every aspect of public international law. This resource has both searching and browsing functions, and offers an e-mail alert for new and updated content.

Key International Documents

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations General Assembly adopted this declaration in 2007. The declaration focuses on eliminating human rights violations against indigenous peoples.

United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
The United Nations General Assembly adopted this convention in 1965. The convention dictates that its members eliminate racial discrimination.

American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Organization of American States adopted this Declaration in 2016.
ILO Convention No. 169 – Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention
International Labor Organization Convention No. 169 is a revised version of Convention No. 107. It was established in 1989 and has been ratified by 20 countries.
CERD General Recommendation 23: Indigenous Peoples
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s recommendation to the United Nations on the rights of indigenous peoples.
World Bank OP 4.10 – Indigenous Peoples
OP 4.10 of the World Bank’s Operational Manual states World Bank policy on the development process in relation to the dignity, human rights, economies, and cultures of indigenous peoples.

United Nations Resources

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization with 193 member states. The organization has five (formerly six) principle organs: the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Secretariat, and International Court of Justice. Below is a list of resources for locating UN information and documents.

United Nations

The official webpage of the United Nations has extensive information on the UN, its member states, and the actions taken by the UN and its committees. Many resources are also offered through the website including documents, maps, research databases, and an online library.
  • Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council. It discusses indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights. The UNPFII website provides information on Forum members, meetings, and actions, as well as links to U.N. documents related to indigenous peoples.
  • Human Rights Council The Human Rights Council is responsible for promoting global human rights and addressing human rights violations. The Council established the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007; the webpage of the Expert Mechanism includes information on the organization, its sessions, and links to studies and reports on indigenous issues.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) is the U.N. directing authority for health.  It provides leadership for global health standards, sets standards, and assesses global health trends.   The WHO webpage on Indigenous Populations offers health-related data and statistics, access to publications, and information on programs and policies that effect indigenous peoples.
  • U.N. Site Index Allows you to browse UN webpages by title.
  • U.N. Official Documents System Search  (ODS) provides access to the resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Trusteeship Council from 1946 to the present.   ODS also has pre-session, in-session, and post-session documentation of each UN organ from 1993 to the present. Pre-1993 documents are gradually being added to ODS.
  • U.N. Bibliographic Information System (UNBISNET) provides a catalog of UN documents and publications indexed by the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the Library of the UN Office at Geneva. It also contains the voting records of all resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and Security Council from their beginning and speeches made in the General Assembly (1983-present), Security Council (1983-present), Economic and Social Council (1983-present) and Trusteeship Council (1982-1994).
  • Access UN (on campus or ASURITE)  Access UN is an index of United Nations documents and publications, and includes such items as masthead documents, draft resolutions, and meeting records. Coverage is from 1956 to the present.
  • International Law Commission (ILC) is charged with developing codified international law through the restatement of existing rules or formulation of new rules. The ILC considers proposals for international law submitted by the General Assembly, other principle UN organs, and UN Members. The ILC website makes its annual reports available, as well as yearbooks, the Analytical Guide, and other texts, instruments, and reports. 

Organization of American States

  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was established in 1959 and is based in Washington, D.C. The Commission acts as a first step in the admissibility process for contentious cases, investigates reports on human rights conditions, and establishes special rapporteurships to bring attention to topics and themes. This includes a Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 
  • Inter-American Court of Human Rights was established in 1979 to apply and interpret the American Convention on Human Rights. It is based in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Court issues decisions and advisory opinions, which are searchable on their web site.

Helpful Websites & Current Awareness Resources

Indigenous Law Resources on the International Law Portal
The Ross-Blakley Law Library International Law Portal provides links to a variety of web-based resources concerning indigenous peoples including books, journals, conventions, and international organizations.

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) is an international human rights organization that focuses on issues related to indigenous peoples including human rights, self-determination, right to territory, control of land, and cultural integrity. The IWGIA publishes a wide range of materials about indigenous peoples’ rights and advocates for indigenous peoples in international forums.
Indigenous Peoples’ Center for Documentation, Research, and Information
This website provides access to documents historically important for indigenous organization, international conference documents, and documents produced by indigenous and transnational organizations and bodies.
Tebtebba – Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education
Tebtebba is an indigenous peoples advocacy group. The group’s website provides links to indigenous peoples organizations and websites, NGOs and advocates, UN agencies, and treaty bodies.
Indigenous and Ethnic Minority International Legal News blog
This blog, written by a lawyer, reports international law news from IGOs and NGOs relating to indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities.

Updated 8/2017

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