Confronting five hundred years of oppression at the World Conservation Congress: Historic Renunciation of the Doctrine of Discovery
The international legal principle known as the “Doctrine of Discovery” has caused immeasurable harm to indigenous peoples throughout history and up to the present day, including the brutal colonization of their territories, the persistent violation of their rights and dignity , and the intergenerational impacts on the health of their communities. There are, however, signs that profound changes are coming, as the new millennium has seen indigenous peoples, lawyers, non-governmental organizations and religious institutions push for the official repudiation of this doctrine.
In this context, the IUCN approved a decisive motion renouncing the “Discovery Doctrine” at the World Nature Congress, held in Marseille (France), in 2021. This article places this fact in the context of the socio-political climate and examines its potential to effect legal, educational, and religious reform changes. Although it has certain limitations as a non-binding “soft law” instrument, this article argues that Motion 048 nevertheless represents an important step toward correcting the centuries of suffering inflicted by this colonial doctrine.
Joe Udell (2022) Confronting five hundred years of oppression at the World Conservation Congress: Historic Renunciation of the Doctrine of Discovery. Revista de Direito Ambiental | vol. 106/2022 | p. 47 – 81 | Abr – Jun / 2022