Indigenous Rights and Human Rights

The aim of this research activity is for students to consider the existence of the rights of Indigenous peoples within Australian democracy, and to see these rights as coexisting simultaneously with citizenship rights but as unique to Indigenous peoples. As they explore this arrangement, they will become acquainted with the national and international legal protection afforded to indigenous peoples, and will be able to compare the kind of rights afforded to Indigenous peoples in Australia with those offered in the United Nations (UN) Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Once students are familiar with the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, they will be able to apply this knowledge in an examination of the current crisis in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, and to consider whether Australia should be a signatory to the UN Draft Declaration.

Year level

Middle Secondary

Curriculum links

Links to the Australian Curriculum


Studies of Society and Environment

Learning outcomes

National Statements of Learning for Civics and Citizenship Education – Year 9

Government and law

Students explore principles, features and practices that characterise democracy in Australia.

Students explore concepts of justice and law and the ways in which legal institutions and processes uphold people’s rights in a democracy.

They have the opportunity to:

  • recognise that there are different types of law; and
  • evaluate the effectiveness of an international organisation in protecting human rights.

Citizenship in a democracy

Students have the opportunity to:

  • evaluate Australian society’s effectiveness in balancing majority rule and respect for minorities in civic decision making;
  • recognise that acts of racism and prejudice constitute discrimination; and 
  • investigate how citizens influence governments on issues.

Number of lessons: 6–8 (50 min each)

Introduction | Topic 1 | Topic 1 Investigation 1 | Topic 1 Investigation 2 | Topic 2 | Topic 2 Investigation 1 | Topic 2 Investigation 2 | Topic 2 Investigation 3 | Resources

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