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The right to Self-determination for people of African descent. The Quilombos case

The right to Self determination has always been debated and interpreted according to diverse perspectives. For years this right has been only seen as the basis of principles as State sovereignty and territorial integrity. Furthermore, because of its delicate content the lack of fulfillment of this right has been the spark of several internal and external armed conflicts; especially between national minorities and the majority.
Nonetheless, during the course of the years, this right has changed forms and modalities of applications. A fundamental step in its evolution has been achieved with the definition of two different, but interconnected, models of self determination, one internal and another external. This distinction have allowed substantial changes in this right’s application, broadening its reach to new categories of international actors.
Recently, self determination has been considered as the principal right of indigenous people; this in order to redress past abuses and massive human rights violation. However, its application has sometimes involved some specific ethnic groups considering as minorities albeit, pursuant to international law, a minority can not have access to right to self determination.
This unclear situation opens a remarkable range of questions were all over the world there are groups of people, with diverse peculiarities, that consider themselves as autonomous realities, therefore, that demand for the recognition of their specific collective rights.
In this case the situation of people of African descent turns out to be a very interesting subject of study; in fact, its multifaceted reality permits to classify this group of people sometimes as a minority, sometimes as a specific ethnic group and in other cases as tribal people. Self determination is then guarantee on the basis of the legal status these groups have been able to acquire.
What are the basis of these differences and why some Afro descendant communities may be entitled to right to self determination while others remain completely excluded by the formulation of the same right are the questions that lead my interest in this research.
In order to answer to these queries I will firstly present an overview on the heterogeneous situation of people of African descent in Latin America focusing my attention, especially, on the situation of invisibility and discrimination they are subjected to. I will then try to define what are the international legal standards which protect and entitle them to some specific rights to land and culture, underlying their weaknesses and strengths in connection with this specific category of people.
Particular attention will be paid to the role played by the Durban Conference of 2001, through which people of African descent have been able to find a fundamental tool to express their concerns and claims and to obtain specific recognition, as well as voice, at international level.
To have a clear and practical, even if geographically limited, example of a self determined group of Afro descendant people in Latin america I will bring at light the case of Quilombos in Brazil. Quilombos are considered rural communities composed by people of African descent; because of their particular status these communities has been able to obtain recognition as autonomous subject through the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. According to the Brazilian Law, Quilombos are entitled to specific rights to autonomy, land, culture, participation while, on the other side, many other rural communities, which share the same cultural peculiarities of Quilombos, are still fighting for the obtainment of the same legal recognition. However, similar situation can be find spread across all the Latin American territory as in Colombia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and many other States.
For the aim of this research, it is worth to highlight that interesting spaces of dialogue between Afro communities and local governments in Latin America can be opened through the description of the path many Afro descendant communities made to obtain special entitlements and collective rights.
Because of its intrinsic controversiality the field of application of self determination remains erratic and, in the majority of cases, the only actors able to decide whether or not guarantee collective rights to minorities, or in this case to Afro descendants communities, are the national States.
On the other hand the active and dynamic Afro descendant reality, with its particular claims and needs, has been able to gain considerable attention by the International community. For this reason further changes in their relation with the States and in the obtainment of their rights are foreseeable in a near future. Although the existence of great obstacles and challenges, perhaps, right to Self determination may be expanded to new categories of actors guaranteeing peace , democracy, respect of human rights and stability at international level.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
Introduction “Wherever there is an Afro descendant population, there exists a movement demanding for their rights” 1 The right to self-determination has always been debated and interpreted according to diverse perspectives. For years this right has been seen just as the basis of principles as State sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, its delicate contents and its lack of fulfilment have often been the spark of several internal, and also, external armed conflicts, especially between national minorities and majorities. Nevertheless, over the years, this right has changed forms and modalities of application. A fundamental step forward in its evolution has been achieved with the definition of two diverse, but interconnected, models of self- determination, one internal and one external. This distinction has allowed substantial changes in its application, broadening its reach to new categories of international actors. Recently, self-determination has been considered as the principal right of indigenous people; this in order to redress past abuses and massive human rights violations. However, its application has sometimes involved some specific ethnic groups considered as minorities; in spite of the fact that, according to International Law, a minority do not have access to right to self- determination. This unclear situation opens a remarkable range of questions, since all over the world there are groups of people, with diverse peculiarities, that consider Robaina T. F ., “Why it is Necessary that all Afro-Descendants of Latin America, the 1 Caribbean and North American Know Each Other More” Black in Latin America, available at: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/black-in-latin-america/about/ 7

Laurea liv.II (specialistica)

Facoltà: Scienze Politiche

Autore: Sara Fortini Contatta »

Composta da 146 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 28 click dal 10/11/2015.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.