Indigenous Rights and Legal Pluralism

General Information

The course shall deal with the situation and rights of indigenous peoples in the region, from both theoretical and empirical interdisciplinary approach. The course shall enable students to visit an indigenous community of the Peruvian Amazon affected by gold mining, to know the issues and struggles of peoples directly to enforce its rights. This community won the first case before the Constitutional Court of Peru that recognizes the rights of self-determination, territory and autonomy. 

The course shall address the following topics:

  • Cultural and legal pluralism.
  • Policies applied to indigenous peoples throughout the History of the Americas.
  • Globalization and contemporary issues of indigenous peoples in Latin America.
  • International Law on the rights of indigenous peoples and defense mechanisms.
  • Case study of the native community Tres Islas (Three Islands), formed by the Shipibo and Ese´eja, peoples and its struggle to defend its territory and autonomy from mining.
  • Field trip to the native community Tres Islas in Tambopata, Madre de Dios, in the Peruvian Amazon.

This course is organized by the PUCP and the Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad-IIDS and comprises the International Exchange Program in multiculturalism, legal pluralism, and indigenous rights.

This course on indigenous rights will follow the work experience of the Strategic Litigation on Indigenous Rights Section of the Clinic of the Law Faculty at the PUCP. For over two years, the objective of the Strategic Litigation on indigenous rights Section of the Clinic has been to develop capacities of the students in order to provide legal defence in access to information and indigenous rights as part of a strategic litigation oriented to strengthen democracy and human rights.

Professor of the Course


Lawyer (PUCP), PhD in Law by the University of Barcelona, Master in penal system and social problems (U. Barcelona), indigenous customary law specialist (UNAM-USAC), Fellow in comparative Indian Law (University of Oklahoma), Diploma in Anthropological Studies (PUCP).

OAS Interamerican Human Rights Commission Consultant to elaborate the report on indigenous women; former UN Consultant on indigenous rights, access to justice, legal pluralism and state´s reform. Visiting Professor at the universities of Carlos III of Madrid, the IISL Oñate, U. Deusto, FLACSO, Harvard; the International Training Centre of the ILO Turin. Professor of the Section of indigenous rights in the legal clinic (PUCP) and Coordinator of the Diplomas of International Studies on indigenous rights (PUCP-IISD).

Words of the Professor

“I invite students and researchers who are working on indigenous rights in Latin America to participate in the field school. In this school, we will have a theoretical part where we answer all questions the students have about the history, legal framework and the situation of indigenous peoples in the American region. In addition, we will have the opportunity to travel to an indigenous community and see on firsthand what their problems are and how the indigenous community has been fighting the informal mining and dealing with the health effects and soil degradation that has occurred in their territory.

What are the advantages of participating in this field school? Researchers and students rarely have the opportunity to have a direct contact with indigenous peoples. Since the indigenous community has had negatives experiences with external people, they do not trust in new people. Notwithstanding, we have a longstanding relationship of trust with the community. We won the case and we continue to support them.

This indigenous community is interested in sharing and publicize their experience to continue with the support of public opinion on it. The school will give you the elements on how to undertake future researches and actions in this area. This experience will change your life and your perspective of indigenous peoples in the region.”

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Brochure 2018

Lima and Madre de Dios, Peru (Amazon)

Session Dates

July 2nd – July 20th, 2018.

Time period:

3 weeks.

Number of hours:

120 hours.


3 credits

Language of Instruction:



Raquel Z. Yrigoyen Fajardo

Associated Instructors:

Raquel Z. Yrigoyen Fajardo, Zulma I. Villa Vílchez, Soraya K. Yrigoyen Fajardo and members of the Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad-IIDS (International Institute on Law and Society-IILS)


Carlos J. Elguera Alvarez