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Melinda Janki


Melinda Janki an international lawyer specialising in the environment and human rights and a co-founder of ILWP. She provides legal advice to conservation organisations and to aboriginal and tribal peoples in Asia, Africa and South America.

Melinda is an active member of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) where she is a member of both the Commission on Environmental Law and the World Commission on Protected Areas. She is a Vice-Chair of the Commission on Environmental Law, co-chair of the Specialist Group on Indigenous Peoples, co-chair of the Specialist Group on Protected Areas, and co-chair of the Inter-Commission Task Force on Protected Areas.

Melinda represented the Patamona people of Guyana in their struggle against the Government over the extension of a national park that violated their traditional rights. As a result of her work with these communities the law was changed to protect their traditional rights. She recently drafted a new law for Guyana, the Amerindian Act 2006, which legally recognises and protects collective Amerindian rights, including collective land ownership. The law also gives Amerindian communities a veto over mining on their lands, lawmaking power and the right to establish their own protected areas.

Melinda is also the author of a far reaching study into the 1969 Act of Free Choice. Her paper ‘West Papua And The RightTo Self-Determination Under International Law‘ first appeared in the West Indian Law Journal in May 2010.