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More than 300 million people in over 70 countries make up the worldi? s indigenous populations. Yet despite ever-growing pressures on their lands, environment and way of life through outside factors such as climate change and globalization, their rights in these and other respects are still not fully recognized in international law.
In this incisive book, Laura Westra deftly reveals the lethal effects that damage to ecological integrity can have on communities. Using examples in national and international case law, she demonstrates how their lack of sufficient legal rights leaves indigenous peoples defenceless, time and again, in the face of governments and businesses who have little effective incentive to consult with them (let alone gain their consent) in going ahead with relocations, mining plans and more. The historical background and current legal instruments are discussed and, through examples from the Americas, Africa, Oceania and the special case of the Arctic, a picture emerges of how things must change if indigenous communities are to survive. It is a warning to us all from the example of those who live most closely in tune with nature and are the first to feel the impact when environmental damage goes unchecked.