Indigenous Peoples as Peoples: The Quest for Self-Determination by the Nordic Sámi People

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 13:00to14:30
Chancellor Day Hall NCDH 316, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism welcomes Professor Martin Scheinin (European University Institute, Florence, Italy) for a talk on the Sámi People’s quest for self-determination.

His talk will be moderated by Professor Payam Akhavan, and Professor Mark Walters will act as discussant.


International law promises to all peoples the right of self-determination. A breakthrough that allowed the adoption of the 2007 UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was made with a drafting compromise that affirms this right also for indigenous peoples but at the same time may be understood as suggesting that their right of self-determination may be different from the general international law right of self determination. The Sámi are the Indigenous people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia. The lecture will address the Sámi People’s quest for self-determination and relate it to the UN Declaration and to the practice of the Human Rights Committee acting under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.

About the speaker

Martin Scheinin is Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. In 1997-2004 he was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee. In 2003-2005 he was a member of an expert group that prepared a draft of a Nordic Sámi Convention, a treaty that still is subject to negotiations. Over three decades he has been advising the Sámi in issues of international and human rights law.

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