This introductory chapter briefly sets out the focus of the book, namely human rights instruments and principles. The explorations in the present work suggests a measure of openness in the articulation and application of human rights norms—that they are developmental, adaptive and sensitive to a degree to local interpretations—imperfectly expressed in doctrines such as the ‘margin of appreciation’. The chapter then addresses questions regarding the coherence of the concept of indigenous peoples; the modalities through which indigenous rights should be advanced; the extent to which cultural expression can be qualified in the name of human rights; the nature of the indigenous engagement with international law and institutions; and the limits of contemporary human rights discourse and its potential to accommodate indigenous concepts, mores and world-views.
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