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In: Cultural Rights as Collective Rights
In: Understanding the Many Faces of Human Security
Author: Kamrul Hossain

This article examines challenges and opportunities resulting from the rapid expansion of information and communication technology (ICT), through their impacts on the traditional culture of a given community. The expansion of ICT extends to all spheres of our lives, and makes society globally-oriented, which has provided opportunities for communities located in remote regions to stay connected and participate in global issues, as well as to take advantage of new innovations, in a virtual environment. However, these developments have also resulted in tensions when considered from the perspective of maintaining fundamental values traditionally held by a community. These fundamental values are often developed from traditionally practiced social norms which, at times, are transformed to adapt to a new cultural reality in response to, for example, information-based technological development. Such developments may generate concern that information-based societal development will negatively influence the traditions and culture of communities, and indigenous communities in particular. These concerns suggest that the introduction of an invasive culture will affect the established community and their culture, who build their identity based on traditional norms. Many indigenous communities, whose identities are founded in nature-based traditional practices, are arguably afraid of losing their cultural values as a result of new information-based societal development. It is based on this premise that the following article considers the Sámi indigenous community of the European High North (EHN) as case study, to argue that culture is a transformational, and not a static, element in any given society; it highlights that information-based cultural development and traditional norms can be mutually re-enforcing. The article argues that culture should be viewed holistically, and that the integration of information-based societal development within traditional culture and identity contribute to cultural modernisation.

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online
Understanding the Many Faces of Human Security: Perspectives of Northern Indigenous Peoples addresses the different aspects of the human security challenges threatening Northern indigenous peoples. These peoples, whose unique, nature-based livelihoods maintain their identity, face difficulties linked to a changing natural and social environment. Their traditional worldviews are challenged as the world they have known for generations is literally melting away. The North experiences numerous pressures linked to rapid modernization, industrialization, demographic pressure and cultural changes. These threats are presented from various angles, such as indigenous understanding of security, governance, sustainability, livelihood practices, mining, nature-based resources and land use management, gender and the elderly. The focus groups of the book are the Ainu, Inuit, Nenets, Sámi and the Mongolian indigenous herders.

Abstract

The Arctic is largely a geographically defined region. In terms of territory, the region is politically divided into eight fragmented areas, each of which is administered by the national jurisdiction of a state. At times, the inhabitants’ Arctic societal identity is in conflict with their so-called national or civic-identity, determined by citizenship. Even though the Arctic is not a homogenous region, it shares similar characteristics, in terms of climatic conditions, livelihood practices, and the presence of culturally unique groups (e.g., indigenous and tribal groups). In this chapter, we endeavor to determine how the Artic identity is formed within a transnational setting and what values are to be protected and promoted for the Arctic societal identity to exist and perpetuate. To this end, we employ a case study on extractive industrial developments in Fennoscandia. We show how, on the one hand, mining development brings economic incentives to the society and promotes its material values, but on the other hand, it adversely or disproportionately affects the local population by threatening the region’s traditional societal characteristics. We explore how an Arctic society in Fennoscandia promotes its societal security in the event of extractive industrial developments, by adopting measures essential to the society’s stable functioning and sustainability.

In: Human and Societal Security in the Circumpolar Arctic
In: Understanding the Many Faces of Human Security
In: Understanding the Many Faces of Human Security
Author: Kamrul Hossain

Abstract

Two International Covenants (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) in common Article 1 highlighted that 'all peoples' have the right to self-determination to freely determine their 'political status' and freely dispose of their 'natural wealth and resources'. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in Article 27 provides protection of the rights belonging to minority cultures, religion and language. The idea of 'indigenous peoples' was apparently an underdeveloped area at the time of the adoption of the Covenants. The concept of indigenous peoples' rights has developed relatively recently. Thus, whether indigenous peoples are 'peoples' within the meaning of the Covenant, and thereby may be capable of enjoying the right to self-determination has been an unsettled case. When in many countries indigenous peoples form a minority, they are, however, identical as distinct from other minority groups in those countries because of their own way of livelihood and preservation of traditional culture and knowledge. Recent normative development pronounced by the Human Rights Committee suggests that indigenous peoples should be treated as 'peoples' within the meaning of Article 1 of the Covenant and as 'people' they have right to enjoy their traditional way of livelihood including right to enjoy their culture. Thus, the main focus of the article is to examine whether a human rights approach to indigenous peoples' rights has evolved to challenge the international regulatory approach currently applicable to the management of Whale and Polar Bear regime and their traditional hunt by the indigenous peoples.

In: International Community Law Review