Background paper on international human rights law and the recognition of Aboriginal customary law


This is one of a series of Background Papers that the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia has commissioned for the purposes of its reference on Aboriginal customary laws (Project No 94). The paper attempts to establish a balance between the practice of Aboriginal law in Western Australia and Australia?s human rights obligations. Thus, it examines relevant Commonwealth legislation and international obligations with respect to matters of Aboriginal law. This involves the primary examination of two key questions: how is recognition of Aboriginal law consistent with international human rights law?; and how may recognition of Aboriginal law conflict with international human rights law? These two questions respond to frequently reported concerns in the community about how international human rights law can reconcile the recognition of Aboriginal law with the notion of universality of human rights and core principles of non-discrimination and equality before the law. Furthermore, the paper considers how the fundamental human rights of Indigenous individuals within a group, in particular women and children, can be guaranteed and protected and what type of cultural practices are viewed as harmful by international human rights law. (Introduction, edited). Public submissions are sought on the project.

Copyright Information

¸ COPYRIGHT - State of Western Australia Copyright in documents on this website is reserved to the Crown in right of the State of Western Australia. It is reproduced here with the permission of the State of Western Australia. You may download, store in cache, display, print, communicate to the public and otherwise reproduce the whole or any part of these documents in unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation. You may not reproduce or communicate the whole or any substantial part of these documents for commercial purposes without the express written permission of the State of Western Australia, which must be sought from the Attorney General for Western Australia. Apart from the uses permitted above and any other use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved. No licence to reproduce, communicate or otherwise use these documents other than as expressly stated above is to be implied by the availability of these documents on this website.