The limits of self-determination: The state and the indigenous groups in Panama

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Alice Ackermann - Committee Chair


This dissertation is a study of the various factors that condition the claims to self-determination by the indigenous groups of the Republic of Panama, and the relative successes or failures resulting therefrom.The objective is to show that the concepts of self-determination and autonomy per se are not enough to guarantee the application of human rights and the promotion of higher living standards among the members of current indigenous groups.Of underlying importance is the fact that self-determination constrains both the state and the indigenous groups within the same state. Perhaps just the existence of a qualified right to self-determination, on a case by case basis, is needed. A right whereby indigenous peoples would be holders of the right to self-determination and the state will continue as the arbiter that ensures the enjoyment of that right.


Law; Political Science, International Law and Relations

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