International Cultural Heritage Law and World Heritage Listing: A Vehicle for “White Control of Indigenous Heritage”?

Marijke Bassani

Abstrakt
This article demonstrates that the current international cultural heritage protection framework, particularly in relation to the World Heritage List, provides an insufficient legal framework within which to protect Indigenous heritage, both tangible and intangible. This inadequacy is largely attributed to the incompatibility of “cultural heritage” with “Indigenous heritage”. An analysis of two dual-listed World Heritage sites – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Tongariro National Park – reveals that their listing results in an international cultural heritage protection paradigm that is overly bureaucratized and endorses a European colonial State-centric perspective. It thus not only fails to adequately account for Indigenous understandings of cultural heritage, but provides protection that is, at best, piecemeal and inconsistent with the 1976 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The rights and interests of States, tourism industries, and landowners in relation to the heritage listed are often privileged, and this has negative implications for Indigenous peoples whose rights, interests, identities, histories, practices, and knowledge systems are further marginalized during the very process by which States seek to “protect” their heritage.
Słowa kluczowe: World Heritage, indigenous, human rights, cultural heritage, Indigenous heritage
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