The Catholic Human Rights Tradition and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

What does Catholic Social Teaching have to say about the rights of Indigenous peoples? In the Catholic human rights tradition, human rights and the duties that go with them are grounded in the dignity of the human person. They apply to all persons and all peoples in every kind of situation or type of activity. The rights of Indigenous peoples are human rights.

ACSJC Occasional Paper No 21

Here’s one from the archive! I wrote this paper for the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council in 1994. It presents the Catholic human rights tradition and draws out the main themes and principles in the teachings of Saint John Paul II about the rights of Indigenous peoples. It also examines the teachings of the Australian Bishops on these issues. The theological foundations remain relevant and so do the key principles.

The paper is out of print now, but here is the full text:


Since then the Australian Bishops have continued to teach on these issues and Pope Francis has stressed the importance of indigenous people’s connections with creation and the wisdom of their sustainable economies.

Sandie Cornish

About the author: Sandie

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