Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/45937
The Sami People is known to be the only indigenous people of Europe. Its population is of 100,000 people, and 98,000 of them live in Norway, Finland and Sweden. Its identity and culture are based on a traditional way of life and a traditional livelihood, and rely heavily on the natural resources on their traditional lands.
The Sami are mostly known for their reindeer husbandry, but they also fish in lakes, rivers and the sea. This is on the latter point that this thesis will focus on. Indeed, this is a lesser known subject, but it is relevant to explore the struggles the Sami encounter to have their rights recognized.
This work will have two main objectives: it will show how the Sami’s way of life has been disrupted since the colonization, and it will discuss how their identity is translated into international laws and domestic laws.
To that end, this thesis will present the Sami (who they are, where they come from, their culture and their traditional activities) to better explain the impact of the colonization. We will look at the consequences through the way it affected them as a people, but also through the implementation of laws who were discriminatory against them.
Since we are approaching our subject through an historic perspective, we will also detail the evolution on International Law and European Law, to highlight the increasing will of international and european institutions to address the specific rights of indigenous peoples on one hand, and the lack of laws addressing directly their fishing rights on the other hand. That is why we will turn to subsidiary laws and courts’ decisions to know the interpretations of these laws.
This will lead us to examine the domestic laws of the three States studied in this thesis, to gauge the influence of the colonialist history and of the International Law on them. And indeed, the current state of Swedish law, Norwegian law and Finnish law show an “selective adhesion” (Ulf Mörkenstam, 2019 the States adhere to the principles of the Sami’s rights to land, water, and culture, but they are reluctant to include this people in decision-making processes.
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