Julian Burger

Julian_BurgerIt held its first session in 1995 with the request by the General Assembly that it should complete the adoption of the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples before the end on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People in December 2004. Ten years on and with only two of the 45 articles and 19 preambular paragraphs adopted at first reading, members of the Commission might consider this, even by UN standards, slow-going. Someone with an eye for figures will calculate that at the current rate of adoption a further 310 years will be necessary – a time-frame beyond the imagination of even the most stonewalling States.
So why is the adoption so slow? Are the principles just too controversial and complex? Are the protagonists – indigenous peoples on the one hand and States on the other – irreconcilable? Has the process been at fault or can we expect a sudden breakthrough so that all the frustration – and there has been plenty of that – will seem little more than the inevitable setbacks on the way to reaching consensus?

2 thoughts on “Julian Burger

  1. shinichi Post author

    Dr Julian Burger


    Dr Julian Burger teaches the optional module ‘Human Rights in Latin America’. Dr Burger has extensive experience of working in Latin America. He has undertaken academic fieldwork in Chile and Brazil and wrote his PhD thesis on cycles of poverty in the north-east of Brazil. For more than 20 years he headed the indigenous peoples and minorities programme at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, working directly with indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant organizations in the region. helping establish technical cooperation activities, training governmental officials in human rights and initiating dialogue between governments and civil society on human rights themes. Before leaving the UN in 2010, he began a series of intergovernmental workshops on uncontacted indigenous peoples in the Amazon and Chaco regions. Dr Burger has taught in several universities including in Canada, France, Spain, USA and is currently Visiting Professor at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex.


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