The AUT Centre for Indigenous Rights and Law (CIRL) encourages interest in indigenous rights and law issues in Aotearoa New Zealand, across the Asia Pacific region and beyond. It brings together prominent and emerging scholars who are dedicated to indigenous studies and human rights.
Established in 2017, the Centre seeks to extend knowledge of customary legal regimes and their validity within state legal systems by encouraging academic exchanges and research. The functions of the Centre are to:
- promote the prominence of indigenous rights and law issues in New Zealand and abroad
- contribute to the education and scholarship relating to indigenous rights and law issues
- provide a forum for academic and policy discussion of these issues
The overall research focus of the Centre is on the rights of indigenous peoples and the law relating to their position in international human rights law and domestic law. The Centre aims to develop significant transnational links, both enhancing and exporting New Zealand expertise in the area.
Within this overall focus, there are numerous more specific issues, ranging from the wider socio-legal, political and policy matters to discrete legal issues. Examples include:
- the role of law and policy in historic discrimination against indigenous peoples
- achieving sovereignty, self-determination, reconciliation and equality
- the impact of international legal regimes on domestic law and policy relating to indigenous peoples
- consideration of statutory governance bodies
- indigenous management of natural resources
- state-indigenous co-management regimes
- protection of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge and cultural expressions
- land and water use rights
- indigenous conceptions of criminal law and justice, including methodologies to tackle the over-representation of indigenous people in the criminal justice system.
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