Human rights for nonhumans?

Alexandre Surrallés


The legal grounds for the self-determination processes of two different indigenous peoples in Peruvian Amazonia reveal how the social relationships they establish with nonhumans enable them to exercise their current rights as “indigenous peoples” in international law. After examining the scope of the recent 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples both in this regard and from a historical perspective, I analyze in particular the notion of “spirituality” used in international law to qualify the relationship between humans and nonhumans among indigenous peoples. Finally, I argue that this recent change in the rights of indigenous peoples, considered as human rights, is the sign of a more widespread change in the nature of a subject of law.


Amazonia, indigenous rights, nonhumans, human rights, animism, territory

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau7.3.013