Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

27 May-7 July 2015 (E06915) | Register for this course (opens in new window)
27 May-7 July 2015-E-Learning + 3-10 August 2015-Costa Rica (E06915-Blended) | Register for the 5th Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Course & Field Visit in Costa Rica

This certificate course jointly organised by HREA and the Human Rights Centre of the UN-mandated University for Peace introduces participants to the increasingly significant field of indigenous peoples’ rights and looks at the contemporary issues that have paradoxically led to a recognition of those rights on the one hand, while simultaneously challenging their implementation on the other. The course will address the broad spectrum of issues involved in the field of indigenous peoples’ rights, beginning with who qualifies to be “indigenous peoples”, the scope of their right to self-determination, the international and regional legal frameworks for the protection of their rights and the challenges associated therewith, and the debates surrounding the concept of indigenous governance.

The course will also look closely into human security and human development issues relating to indigenous peoples, the role of extraction and other business corporations in indigenous reservations/areas, and the effect of intellectual property rights on the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples. Strong emphasis will be placed throughout the course not only on theory and law, but also on case studies from around the world. Participants will explore debates on mainstreaming versus autonomy, participatory governance, scope of ‘free and prior consent’ and the human right to development, amongst others.

Course structure

This e-learning course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, interaction with students and instructor on discussion boards, quizzes and webinars. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation. It is also possible to audit the course.

Course outline

Week 1: Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Identity and the Right to Self-determination
Week 2: International and Regional Legal Framework for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
Week 3: Indigenous Governance
Week 4: Indigenous Peoples, Human Security and Human Development
Week 5: Indigenous Peoples Rights and Business Corporations
Week 6: Traditional Knowledge, Intellectual Property Rights and Indigenous Peoples

About the instructor: Mihir Kanade

instructor photo_Mihir KanadeMihir Kanade (India) is the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre and is also a faculty member in the Department of International Law and Human Rights at UPEACE. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced for several years as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and the Bombay High Court, focusing on issues of fundamental human rights violations. He has served as a legal advisor to many human rights organizations in India and has represented them before different courts and tribunals in criminal, constitutional and labour cases. His principal area of academic research and study is Human Rights and Globalization, including indigenous peoples’ rights. Mr. Kanade teaches courses on indigenous peoples’ rights at UPEACE. He also leads a yearly field course for practitioners and experts on the topic in Costa Rica. He instructs the e-learning courses Business and Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility offered jointly by HREA and UPEACE.

Who should apply

The course is intended for staff members of civil society organisations and (inter)governmental organisations involved in advocating for indigenous peoples’ rights, academics and others interested in the human rights of indigenous and tribal peoples. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA and UPEACE aim to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 575 (after 1 February 2015: US$ 675); tuition for auditors: US$ 215 (US$ 250 after 1 February 2015).  Payments can be made online by major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, bank transfer and money transfer (Western Union, MoneyGram). Bulk rates are available.

How to register

Register for this course (page opens in new window). Early registration and payment deadline: 1 February 2015. Registrations are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. It is also possible to combine the e-learning course with a field experience in an indigenous community in Costa Rica from 3-9 August 2015 (E06915-Blended) in the 5th Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Course & Field Visit in Costa Rica.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about HREA’s e-learning courses.

Testimonials by course participants