Environmental and collective rights: Differences between indigenous and non-indigenous NGOS involved with the United Nations Human Rights Council

Maia Hallward, Kennesaw State University
Charity Butcher, Kennesaw State University
Jonathan Taylor Downs, Kennesaw State University
Emily Cook, Kennesaw State University


Scholarship on human rights and environmental justice suggests that organizations vary in their messaging regarding outcomes related to environmental protection and sustainability, differences often found in the divide between the Global North and Global South. The literature also suggests that Indigenous organizations represent groups that traditionally focus on issues of sovereignty, while grappling with unique problems related to assimilation, cultural preservation, and oppression. This study utilizes empirical data gathered from 333 non-governmental organizations affiliated with the United Nations Human Rights Council to explore whether Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations, which share many aspects of their mission with one another at the transnational level, differ on issues related to environment sustainability and collective identity rights. Our results indicate that Indigenous organizations take a more holistic approach in addressing the relationship between humans and the natural world, centring marginalized perspectives through restorative justice and the needs of current and future generations.