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Hastings Women’s Law Journal

Abstract

In some parts of this world, children are abandoned or even buried alive when their tribes-their own families-consider them dangerous to the well-being of the group. Scholars and advocates have largely framed the discourse on infanticide in indigenous tribes as a conflict between the rights of indigenous peoples to preserve and practice their cultures, and internationally-recognized individual rights that forbid infanticide. This Article examines infanticide in indigenous tribes in Brazil and argues that cultural diversity cannot be invoked to justify indigenous infanticide because life is the sine qua non condition for the existence of culture. Rather, the right to life must be honored and protected as a way of protecting culture. This Article concludes that the protection of fundamental dignities of all people promised by the promulgation of various international human rights treaties must extend to indigenous children.

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