20 January 2015
SSRN ARTICLE ANNOUNCEMENT: China & the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The Tibetan Case
Using sovereignty as a shield, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has generally sought a pass in regard to enforcing international human rights compliance. Though it has signed numerous human rights treaties, its state-centered approach has sought to avoid all efforts at enforcement. This avoidance has nowhere been more absolute than its disavowal of any obligations regarding indigenous peoples’ rights. The PRC actually voted in support of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (UN General Assembly 2008). It then promptly disavowed any obligation under the declaration, proclaiming there were no indigenous peoples in China. It proclaimed 5,000 years of unity and harmony with its 55 designated national minorities living in peace on their own land. Though a bloody history and recent protests by the most prominent of these minorities – Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Mongols – would tend to belie such assertion, the international community has rarely challenged this claim.