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Introducing the Living Convention and Landscape Approach to Legal Empowerment

Jonas, Harry; Jonas, Holly; Makagon, Jael Eli

The fragmentation of law and related institutional arrangements continue to undermine Indigenous Peoples and local communities intent on self-determining their futures and retaining the social and ecological integrity of their territories and other areas. In this light, new approaches to understanding the law and to using the law are required. The Living Convention attempts to employ a new approach in order to make international law more accessible to Indigenous peoples and local communities. In doing so, it helps increase access to justice by democratizing the law and allowing a range of non-lawyers to identify and to utilize provisions in international law that are relevant to their needs. The Living Convention and the concept of ‘legal empowerment for landscapes’ are modest contributions to this ongoing and multi-stakeholder endeavor. It is the authors’ sincere hope that these ideas contribute to the on-going work in this area and, by promoting an unorthodox reading of an existing legal landscape, helps Indigenous Peoples, local communities and their supporters to identify “space to place new steps of change


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Also Published In

Indigenous Peoples’ Access To Justice, Including Truth And Reconciliation Processes
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Published Here
March 30, 2015


This is a chapter from "Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at