Littlechild, Wilton, Stamatopoulou, Elsa, Columbia University. Center for the Study of Human Rights,
"Access to justice is a demand that increasingly underlies the major debates of our time, whether in the area of economic, political and social development, peace, human rights or culture. The issue is a bridge between the past, the present and the future as it refers to the entrenched marginalization of and systemic discrimination against members or groups of society. Access to justice is the stepping stone to address or remedy injustice. No area of human endeavor has given more meaning and normative content to the concept of access to justice than the human rights area, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The solid international human rights framework developed in the past seventy years and the ways it is being given depth through the interpretation of international human rights bodies is providing access to justice with the normative contours and specificity needed for practical implementation. Thus, access to justice is at once a substantive and a procedural right. Major elements such as the rule of law, the right to truth and other fundamental normative frameworks have added new weight to access to justice. It is within this rich human rights context that the effort to breathe new life to the struggle of Indigenous Peoples’ access to justice should be viewed. The mobilization around access to justice is shedding light on the concrete steps that can be followed for Indigenous Peoples’ access to justice to materialize. The articles contributed to this book are written by Indigenous Peoples, researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and academics, capturing a variety of international and national perspectives, based both on theory and on the analysis of specific cases and examples. Most of the articles have been contributed by participants to the International Expert Seminar on Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice, including Truth and Reconciliation Processes held from February 27th to March 1st, 2013 at Columbia University in New York, co-hosted by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and held to inform the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ Study on Access to Justice in the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, the co-editors found it useful to invite some authors who were not present at the Seminar to make their contributions. Thus, this volume captures a variety of subjects that fall under the broad topic of Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice."