Ms Fleur Adcock

PhD scholar

LLM (Distinction) (Victoria University of Wellington)
LLB (First Class Honours) (University of Canterbury)
BA (University of Canterbury)
Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Topic or working title

‘The United Nations Special Procedures and Indigenous peoples: A regulatory analysis.’

Abstract or summary

The adoption of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 has shifted the attention of Indigenous rights scholars from norm elaboration to norm implementation. Yet, the influence of the UN Human Rights Council's special procedures in actualising Indigenous norm implementation remains under-researched. I investigate how the non-coercive and resource-poor special procedures regulate – or influence – state behaviour towards Indigenous peoples. I depart from the existing international law corpus by drawing on regulatory literature. Contrary to rationalist theories, I find that the apparently weak international mechanism of the special procedures regulates state behaviour towards Indigenous peoples imperfectly but appreciably. However, I argue that ritualism is states' dominant response: states outwardly agree with the special procedures' recommendations while inwardly developing techniques to avoid them. I conclude that the special procedures mechanism is capable of exerting enhanced influence over state behaviour towards Indigenous peoples and propose strategies to that end. The findings are based on case studies regarding the special procedures' influence in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Republic of Guatemala.

The special procedures mechanism enjoys a broad mandate to advance the realisation of international Indigenous rights norms. In fulfilling this mandate the special procedures experts leverage a mixed dialogic tool-set; principally engaging techniques of shaming, in addition to dialogue-building and capacity-building. The experts' influence on state behaviour towards Indigenous peoples is perceptible in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Republic of Guatemala. But each state engages in ritualism both to disguise its inward resistance to recommendations regarding 'hard' rights to self-determination and land and its failure to fully commit to recommendations concerning the 'soft' cultural right to education. A complex collection of factors explain the experts' imperfect influence: key actors are not engaged, the core principles underlying states' responses to the experts' recommendations are not contested and important regulatory mechanisms are under-exploited. The analysis indicates that, by harnessing dialogic 'webs of influence', comparatively weak actors like the special procedures can influence powerful actors, such as states. It also reveals that, to counter states' rights ritualism, the special procedures should simultaneously shame and praise states, fostering continuous improvement in observing Indigenous rights.

Panel members and positions

Primary Supervisor and Panel Chair:
Professor Mick Dodson, Director of NCIS and Professor at the ANU College of Law.

Advisors:

  • Professor Hilary Charlesworth, ARC Federation Fellow, Director of the Centre for International Governance & Justice and Professor in the RegNet Program and ANU College of Law.
  • Dr Lisa Strelein, Director of the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies and Adjunct Scholar at NCIS.

Biography

Fleur is from Aotearoa/New Zealand and is of Maori (Ngati Mutunga) and English descent. She gained a Master of Laws (Distinction) from Victoria University of Wellington in 2006 and both a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts in Maori Studies from the University of Canterbury in 2003. Fleur was admitted to the Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2003 and spent several years practising as a solicitor in Wellington and as in-house legal counsel in the United Kingdom. Fleur's legal experience includes assisting in the negotiation of historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements between Maori and the New Zealand Government. Fleur received an ANU Vice Chancellor's Scholarship for Doctoral Study to pursue her research at ANU. During her doctoral studies she has tutored two courses in the ANU College of Law – 'Indigenous Australians and the Law' and 'Lawyers, Justice and Ethics.' Fleur spent two years as the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate representative on the NCIS HDR Program Committee.

Fleur's research interests include Indigenous peoples' rights law, international human rights law, constitutional law, theories of social regulation and critical theories.

Publications

Refereed publications

  • Adcock, F. (forthcoming, 2013) 'The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and New Zealand: A Study in Compliance Ritualism' New Zealand Yearbook of International Law.
  • Adcock, F. (forthcoming, 2013) ‘Maori and the Bill of Rights Act: A Case of Missed Opportunities?’ New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law .

Book chapters

  • Adcock, F. (forthcoming, 2013) ‘Diluted Control: A Critical Analysis of the Wai262 Report on Maori Traditional Knowledge and Culture’ in Matthew Rimmer (ed.) Indigenous Intellectual Property: A Handbook of Contemporary Research, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham.

Non-refereed publications

  • Adcock, F. (forthcoming, 2013) ‘Indigenous peoples' rights under international law,’ The Year in Review, New Zealand Yearbook of International Law.
  • Adcock, F. (2013) ‘Aotearoa New Zealand,’ in: Caecille Mikkelsen (ed.) The Indigenous World 2013, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Copenhagen, pp.204-211.
  • Adcock, F. (2012) ‘Aotearoa New Zealand,’ in: Caecille Mikkelsen (ed.) The Indigenous World 2012, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Copenhagen, pp.224-231.
  • Adcock, F. (2011) ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Under International Law,’ The Year in Review, New Zealand Yearbook of International Law, vol. 9, pp.296-307.
  • Adcock, F. (2011) ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’ in: Kathrin Wessendorf (ed.) The Indigenous World 2011, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Copenhagen, pp.222-229.
  • Adcock, F. and Charters, C. (2010) ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Under International Law,’ The Year in Review, New Zealand Yearbook of International Law, vol.8, pp.203-213.
  • Adcock, F. and Charters, C. (2009) ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Under International Law,’ The Year in Review, New Zealand Yearbook of International Law, vol.7, pp.308-320.

Public lectures, seminars & conference papers

  • ‘The 1st and 2nd decades of Indigenous peoples: What has worked, what is not working, what have we learnt and the way forward’, Preparatory meeting for Pacific Indigenous Peoples on the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, Sydney, Australia, 19 March 2013.
  • ‘Mobilizing the Special Procedures to influence Guatemala's conformity to Indigenous peoples' rights’, Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law Postgraduate Workshop, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, 4 July 2012.
  • ‘Networking a Sea of Islands: Mobilising the International Human Rights System to Promote Indigenous Rights’, 2012 International Conference on Law and Society, Honolulu, Hawai‘i, 7 June 2012.
  • ‘Maori and the Bill of Rights Act: A Case of Missed Opportunities?’ New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 – 21st Birthday Celebration Symposium, Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, 29-30 August 2011.
  • ‘Can the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures Help to Counter Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Indigenous Rights ‘Implementation Gap?’ Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law Conference, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 23-25 June 2011.
  • ‘Does the Rhetoric Match the Reality? The Role of the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures in Promoting Indigenous Rights,’ 5th National Indigenous Legal Conference, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 1-2 October 2010.
  • ‘The Relationship between Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Universal Human Rights: Special Measures,’ 10th Pacific Island Political Studies Association Conference, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, 24-26 November 2005.

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