Indigenous Peoples, Minorities and Human Rights

Optional (10 ECTS Credits) – Spring Term

Aims and Objectives

The course will provide students with a broad range of frameworks that will facilitate the analysis of human rights issues facing indigenous peoples and minorities in the world today.  It will provide a historical context, informed by a variety of epistemological approaches, to the selected case studies in order to develop a nuanced understanding of the contemporary issues highlighted.

Module Outline

The module will investigate the historical and contemporary human rights issues faced by indigenous peoples and minorities which emanate from the relationship they have with the states in which they live and the international system. Topics covered range from colonial genocide and contemporary settler/indigenous relations to discrimination on the basis of caste and against ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. The module will also look into how indigenous peoples and minorities are protected by international human rights, considering the rights that have been established, the jurisprudence that has been developed and the mechanisms for implementation. The module will provide an opportunity to reflect on how the collective rights of indigenous peoples and the rights of minorities are protected and implemented in practice. Through the examination of cases addressed by international and regional human rights mechanisms, there will be an opportunity to understand the obligations of States.  The module will also provide a space for consideration of contemporary challenges relating to political participation, conflict, development and other matters that affect indigenous peoples and minorities.


  • 3000 word essay = 65% of the total grade.
  • 1500 word UN shadow report = 25% of the total grade.
  • Seminar participation = 10% of the total grade.

Taught by Dr Julian Burger, Dr Damien Short, Dr Corinne Lennox and other academics within the Human Rights Consortium’s related projects.