Washington International Law Journal


This article explores how courts in developed market economies address the tension between recognizing the rights of indigenous groups and addressing questions of land development that supposedly benefit the majority populations. Using a comparative approach, the article identifies three jurisdictions in the Pacific Rim with indigenous populations: (1) the State of Hawai‘i in the United States, (2) Japan, and (3) New Zealand and analyzes how land use courts and administrative bodies have addressed the thorny question pursuing development while fulfilling their obligations to indigenous populations. While the State of Hawai‘i has explicit state constitutional protections, Japan and New Zealand each demonstrate that international treaties like the ICCPR may provide another important source of legal protection. However, the article concludes that explicit constitutional protections of indigenous groups provide the greatest level of support when combined with other constitutional protections like administrative due process.

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