Minorities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Abstract

Het is een encyclopedie, maar voor de Max Planck Encyclopedie werd ook aanvaard dat het ging om een wetenschappelijke publicatie: de inleiding (de tekst die volgt na -----) geeft aan op welke manier ik mijn visie op het domein geef, welke dingen ik er uitlicht en welke dingen ik met elkaar verbindt. Je moet hier telkens van elk punt of sub punt de vijf meest belangrijke publicaties aangeven, dus het is een mammoet-werk: 50 bladzijden (van wat oorspronkelijk 80 blz was). While there is still no generally agreed upon definition of the concept minority, it has become clear that most indigenous peoples also qualify as minority (while having some extra characteristics). Immigrant minorities are increasingly accepted as new minorities, while there are still states and academics that do not fully embrace this understanding. In essence minority protection is about the accomodation of population diversity, which is less sensitive for states who tend to relate to minorities to irredentist movements. The foundational principles of minority protection are related to its underlying justifications: the right to identify and substantive equality. A central debate concerns the relationship between general fundamental rights (not only civil and political but also socio-economic and cultural rights) and minority specific rights. Throughout the chapter it is emphasized that all fundamental rights are just as much determined by the interpretation of the standards as by the standards themselves, including the clauses on 'legitimate' limitations. It is exactly the interpretation of general and minority specific rights that determines their relative weight for an adequate minority protection in terms of the right to identify and substantive equality. Hence, a lot of attention goes to the supervisory practice. Furthermore the specifications of monitoring systems of minority specific rights are highlighted in a separate part. This chapter combines a thematic focus with a more organizational one for two reasons: accessibility of information in both respects (the use of cross references remedies the imperfections in terms of a thematic approach) and the fact that the minority specific rights are only developed at the level of the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The African and Inter-American system confirm how the interpretation of general human rights can provide a meaningful protection to minorities, including and specifically indigenous peoples. The thematic parts focusing on the right to identify are structured per identity characteristics, while the 'equality' parts highlight that the prohibition of discrimination constitutes one of the pillars of minority protection and is increasingly opening towards substantive equality. Since several philosophical debates are closely intertwined with ongoing debates concerning minorities and their (collective) rights, reference is also made to multiculturalism and communitarianism. In the final part several themes are referenced with a special connection to minorities: diversity management, integration, the prevention of ethnic conflict, self-determination (autonomy), and the World's Bank's policies on indigenous peoples. Special attention goes to Roma, as the pan-European ans severely disadvantaged minority.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Bibliographies online
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameOxford Bibliographies Online: International Law

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