Background to the project
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September, 2007. Some commentators argue that the UNDRIP is a source of customary international law or at the very least that certain provisions of the UNDRIP are customary international law. In conjunction with the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), the Indigenous Law Centre (ILC) and the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) are now embarking on a project to monitor the extent to which the UNDRIP is being implemented and used (practised) around the world.  A copy of the declaration can be found here.

Aim of the project
The project will provide insight into the UNDRIP’s standing as a source of customary international law.

Purpose of the database
By pooling together evidence of the UNDRIP’s use in a publicly available space, the database will enable states, Indigenous peoples and other organisations to develop a more concrete idea of the UNDRIP’s utility and the impact it is having on the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Initially the database will focus on case law, but will expand overtime to include measures of constitutional, statutory and policy implementation. The database, which will be hosted on the AustLII website, will be regularly updated and freely available to the public and will encourage submissions regarding implementation of the UNDRIP.

Structure of database
The database will have three major components:
1.    Individual entry for each case.
2.    Category listings of the cases.
3.    Introduction to the UNDRIP and the database, and instructions on how to use the database.

Project milestones
Stage 1:  Pilot project launched and initial research conducted.
Stage 2:  Relevant cases identified, preliminary database set up, and initial case summaries drafted. Current stage
Stage 3:  Case summaries standardised and uploaded to AustLII database.
Stage 4:  AustLII database reviewed and updated.
Stage 5:  AustLII database expanded to include other sources of law.
Stage 6:  AustLII database maintained and set up as an ongoing resource


  • Indigenous Law Centre: project coordinator, responsible for the development of the database, including staffing and academic review.
  • AustLII: online platform for public access of database and online technical support
  • UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP): project partner. The Indigenous Law Centre is a ‘Friend of EMRIP’.
  • Other academics and practitioner: in coordination with the ILC the project attracts and relies on the contributions and participation of relevant and interested legal practitioners and academics from around the world.
  • Law students: the initial Case Summaries Team will be made up of law students from UNSW and other universities.

For more information or if you are interested in contributing to the project, please contact:

Project Coordinator:

Megan Davis
Phone: + 61 (2) 9385 2252
Email: UNDRIP@unsw.edu.au

ILC Centre Coordinator:

Melanie Simpson
Phone + 61 (2) 9385 2252
Email: ilc@unsw.edu.au

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