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In Bolivia, constitutional recognition of indigenous jurisdiction was followed by legislation to enable coordination with the ordinary justice.

Bolivia aprobó una peligrosa ley de justicia indígena – Infobae

State legislation and federal electoral court decisions have reaffirmed the rights of indigenous peoples in states like Oaxaca, Michoacan, Morelos and Guerrero to elect local and municipal authorities according to their usages and customs. Furthermore, measures need to be adopted so that the criminal justice system is not used to criminalize indigenous peoples, or those that assist them, when engaging in the legitimate defense of their rights.

The Court considered there to be an “intercultural consensus” on the minimum human rights requirements that indigenous authorities were to respect in their decisions. I pointed out the importance of indigenous peoples to continue developing and strengthening their own legal, policy and self-determination initiatives. The above international sources reflect the need for States to address disadvantages indigenous peoples face due to language, cultural, economic and other barriers within national legal systems.

I consider that these are important programs that need to be continued and strengthened. Indigenous peoples have experienced limited results in obtaining recognition and protection of their land rights through the use of the agrarian legal procedures. International human rights perspectives on access to justice for indigenous peoples in Mexico.

Nevertheless, there is no comprehensive national mechanism for coordination or interface between indigenous and ordinary jurisdictions.

In Mexico, as in other countries, the recognition of indigenous juridical systems would also involve the establishment of mechanisms for harmonization and interface with the national or ordinary jurisdiction. I found that access to justice for indigenous peoples using the agrarian legal system could be seriously limited if current international standards on indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories, natural resources and other human rights are jursidiccional adequately incorporated and applied by agrarian authorities.

I will then conclude with a discussion of further areas of work in the areas of indigenous justice systems and autonomy based on the recommendations I made in my country report.

As article 4 of the Declaration states, indigenous peoples have 0773 right to ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

It was in the context of this mandate that I was invited by the Government of Mexico to undertake an official country mission from 8 to 17 November I would like to thank the Federal Judiciary Council for inviting me to speak before this important seminar on the issue of access to justice for indigenous peoples.


This could include an intercultural review body made of representatives of indigenous and ordinary justice authorities. Results can also be limited when lands that are recognized through these procedures do not correspond with their own traditional boundaries and concepts of territory. Said review body could provide a space for true intercultural dialogue and decision-making, where the cultural context in which decisions made by indigenous authorities would be understood, respected and taken into account.

These different actions taken by indigenous peoples have contributed to the reduction of crime at the local level. This can be a useful practice to facilitate an intercultural dialogue which should be expanded in further debates and cases related to indigenous juridical systems.

Regarding indigenous peoples’ right to judicial protection, the Inter-American Court has stated that States must take into account indigenous peoples’ “specificities, their economic and social characteristics, as well as their situation of special vulnerability, their customary law, values and customs. Therefore, avenues of dialogue, coordination and collaboration are needed between State authorities and indigenous autonomous institutions such as community police, indigenous courts, good governance councils and autonomous municipalities in areas of mutual interest.

According to Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, ratified by Mexico inindigenous peoples have the right to “be able to take legal proceedings, either individually or through their representative bodies, for the effective protection of [their] rights. Access to justice also requires the respect and promotion of indigenous peoples’ usages, customs, juridical systems, autonomy and self-governance initiatives, also recognized in the abovementioned international instruments.

These efforts would need to ensure that mechanisms within the national justice systems are accessible and culturally adequate. Due process would depend on the particular laws and procedures of the indigenous community concerned based on its social and political organization. I took note of programs by institutions like the National Commission of Human Rights CNDH and the Federal Public Defense Institute to promote due process rights through the provision of indigenous language speaking interpreters and attorneys, specialized public defenders, anthropological expert reports, and for the prerelease of indigenous defendants in pretrial detention.

This is aggravated by the presence of organized crime in indigenous territories and the overall situation of impunity afflicting the country. Recommendations for further action in the promotion of indigenous justice systems. When there are legitimate concerns about the observance of human rights in a decision made by an indigenous authority or about the suitability of indigenous jurisdiction for a particular matter, specialized review bodies could be devised in addition to domestic courts.

International human rights perspectives on access to justice for indigenous peoples in Mexico

Paraguay, Judgment of March 29,paras. It also presents limits for indigenous individuals, communities and peoples seeking to assert their rights in national legal systems. In this regard, there needs to be a dynamic and intercultural understanding that takes into account the diverse manifestations of human rights.


However, by focusing on specific competencies for indigenous justice authorities and areas where indigenous jurisdiction does not apply, jurisdicccional legislation resulted in significant restrictions on the jurisdictional powers of indigenous authorities. There should not be predetermined assumptions that indigenous jurisdictional functions have to be limited to only minor infractions, that it should only apply to members of the same community or people, or to only cases occurring within an indigenous peoples’ territory.

I also noted concerns over abuses experienced by indigenous individuals including arbitrary arrests and excessive use of pretrial detention for indigenous men and women.

This is significant as the reform also facilitates the full incorporation and application of international human rights instruments dealinde and adhered to by Mexico. This needs to addressed through actions by the Supreme Court and other relevant tribunals to step up existing mechanisms to ensure enforcement of those judgments.

Guatemala, Judgment of November 26,para. It is also necessary to recognize indigenous peoples’ justice systems as dynamic in character, thus allowing them to evolve and adapt to future situations and contexts, in a manner that is consistent with their social, political and cultural precepts.

Coordination between indigenous and national justice system In Mexico, as in other countries, the recognition of indigenous juridical systems would also involve the establishment of mechanisms for harmonization and interface with the national or ordinary jurisdiction.

An intercultural dialogue between indigenous and State justice authorities regarding the areas that indigenous justice operators consider they should adjudicate should be promoted with a view to guaranteeing a maximum level of autonomy for the indigenous peoples concerned.

Bolivia aprobó una peligrosa ley de justicia indígena

Secondly, I will provide an overview of the findings made after my official visit dealinde Mexico regarding access to justice, indigenous systems of justice and self-determination. For example, I was informed that there were only 25 bilingual public defenders operating nationally.

Various countries in and outside of the Latin American region have developed legislation or jurisprudence seeking to establish parameters of coordination between the two systems of justice following constitutional or legislative recognition of indigenous jurisdiction and juridical systems.

An important avenue to guarantee access to justice for indigenous peoples is the recognition and promotion of their own juridical systems.