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The Rights of 'Old' versus 'New' Minorities

The Rights of 'Old' versus 'New' Minorities I. PROBLEM DESCRIPTION International minority rights law is law in the making. Important developments took place during the last decade of the twentieth century, but many issues remain vague and uncharted. In the long-standing efforts by the international community to develop inter- national protection of minority rights, it has been impossible to agree on a definition of 'minority'. One of the stumbling blocks has been the disagreement on whether so-called 'new' minorities should be included, and if so, whether they should have the same rights as the 'old' minorities. The purpose of this paper is to address that issue de lege ferenda (how the law should be, i.e. to which extent should minority protection extend to new minorities?). A second, related question is by which criteria we should separate the 'old' from the 'new'. I shall use as illustration the provisions of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (UNDeclMin). As a basis for a meaningful discussion of the first question we would have to examine the justifications for minority protection, in order to make a reasoned assessment as to whether new minorities should be included, and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online Brill

The Rights of 'Old' versus 'New' Minorities

European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online , Volume 2 (1): 17 – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
eISSN
2211-6117
DOI
10.1163/221161103X00175
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I. PROBLEM DESCRIPTION International minority rights law is law in the making. Important developments took place during the last decade of the twentieth century, but many issues remain vague and uncharted. In the long-standing efforts by the international community to develop inter- national protection of minority rights, it has been impossible to agree on a definition of 'minority'. One of the stumbling blocks has been the disagreement on whether so-called 'new' minorities should be included, and if so, whether they should have the same rights as the 'old' minorities. The purpose of this paper is to address that issue de lege ferenda (how the law should be, i.e. to which extent should minority protection extend to new minorities?). A second, related question is by which criteria we should separate the 'old' from the 'new'. I shall use as illustration the provisions of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (UNDeclMin). As a basis for a meaningful discussion of the first question we would have to examine the justifications for minority protection, in order to make a reasoned assessment as to whether new minorities should be included, and

Journal

European Yearbook of Minority Issues OnlineBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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