Self-Determination and the Right of Peoples to Participate in International Law-Making

Published on 23 November 2021


In recent decades, peoples have frequently asserted a right to participate in the international legal order, and have participated in various international law-making and regulatory processes carried out under the auspices of intergovernmental organizations. However, while self-determination has long been understood to encompass a right to participation at the national level, the case for this legal right at the international level has not been comprehensively discussed. I present an account of the development of the law of self-determination and argue that by its logic, the law of self-determination can be interpreted as justifying a collective right of peoples to participate in international law-making. The article proposes a formulation of the right including its corresponding duties. The article’s key contribution is to offer an understanding of how practice by states and international organizations to grant indigenous peoples enhanced status in intergovernmental fora may be seen to logically follow from the law of self-determination.

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