Nothing About Us Without Us. Access for Indigenous Peoples to the United Nations and Perceptions of Legitimacy

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2020-02-20
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Politikwissenschaft
Advisor: Hasenclever, Andreas (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2019-10-28
DDC Classifikation: 320 - Political science
Keywords: Partizipation , Internationale Organisation , Zivilgesellschaft
Other Keywords: Indigene Völker
Indigenous Peoples
United Nations
Civil Society
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This dissertation is concerned with the increased access of Indigenous peoples to the United Nations. Over the course of the past forty years, Indigenous peoples have become appreciated interlocutors for the UN system. A number of institutions have been created that deal exclusively with issues related to Indigenous peoples and have specific provisions for their participation. Major examples are the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) which brings together members nominated by Indigenous peoples and by governments on an equal footing, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) which mainly consists of members of Indigenous origin. In this context, it has been assumed that including the voices of most marginalized and vulnerable actors results in institutional settings which are more reflective of and responsive to those directly affected by global policy-making and thus contributes to the legitimacy of global institutions. Therefore, this dissertation asks whether access for Indigenous actors as those most affected by these institutions in fact makes the actors involved – mostly members of Indigenous organizations, state delegates, and staff of international organizations (IOs) – consider the PFII and EMRIP as legitimate. In addition, it enquires how participants from states, IOs, and Indigenous organizations form opinions regarding institutional legitimacy. As a result, the dissertation finds that access rights for Indigenous organizations can contribute to perceptions of legitimacy, but only under certain conditions. On the one hand, institutional leverage determines how access opportunities translate into the possibility to shape policies. On the other hand, resources and capabilities of Indigenous participants are unevenly distributed and not everyone gets a say even when access modalities are favorable for Indigenous actors. At the same time, different expectations regarding Indigenous participation at the UN and enduring skeptical attitudes towards cooperation by some actors constitute a complicated environment for UN institutions in the area of Indigenous affairs to maneuver.

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