Community stewardship: the foundation of biocultural rights

Community stewardship: the foundation of biocultural rights

Kabir Sanjay Bavikatte, Tom Bennett

Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, Vol. 6 No. 1, March 2015, pp. 7–29

SUMMARY: The term ‘biocultural rights’ denotes a community’s long established right, in accordance with its customary laws, to steward its lands, waters and resources. Such rights are being increasingly recognized in international environmental law. Biocultural rights are not simply claims to property, in the typical market sense of property being a universally commensurable,
commodifiable and alienable resource; rather, as will be apparent from the discussion offered here, biocultural rights are collective rights of communities to carry out traditional stewardship roles vis-à-vis Nature, as conceived of by indigenous ontologies.


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