From Community Autonomy in Hungary to Indigenous Self-Determination in the Outback of Australia: Can Non-Territorial Autonomy Find Traction Down Under?
Keywords:non-territorial autonomy, Bauer and Renner, rights of indigenous people, self-determination, Aboriginal people, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, community autonomy in Hungary, rights of minorities, collective rights
Hungary has, during the past three decades, developed what could arguably be described as one of the most advanced institutional systems of non-territorial autonomy in the world. Being so advanced does not of course mean the system is perfect or beyond criticism. But it does provide potentially useful insights into how non-territorial autonomy can or cannot work in practice. This article reflects on the institutional design of Hungary and asks whether principles can be identified that may be employed by indigenous groups in Australia and beyond in their search for a form of self-government. The theory and practice of non-territorial autonomy has so far been the focus of experts predominately from Central and Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. This article considers whether any insight can be gained to apply the principles of non-territorial autonomy to other jurisdictions. The institutional design in place in Hungary may offer useful insight into how indigenous communities, particular some Aboriginal communities in Australia, may be bestowed with legal powers as a community to make decisions of a cultural and linguistic nature and to cooperate via the legal entity with local and state authorities. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples refers to selfdetermination and autonomy without placing those terms into a specific set of institutional arrangements. Whereas non-territorial autonomy may not be suitable for all communities, this article contends that non-territorial arrangements may offer an opportunity for self-government to indigenous (and other) communities that share a strong sense of identity; that do not have a geographical base where they constitute the majority; and where a communal desire for a form of self-government in public law exists.
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