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11 Human Rights, Refugees, and the Fate of Minorities

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Chapter Summary

In 1945, the international community, profoundly shaken by the two World Wars that had occurred in the space of thirty years, and by the barbarous acts committed with total disregard for human rights, began the creation of a new world order. Of the hundred million persons estimated to have died as a result of those two wars, the majority were civilians. Some minorities that fell into the hands of the Nazis were slated for destruction. This chapter outlines the international community's response to the barbarous acts associated with World War II, its approaches to the protection of minorities and refugees, its attempts to criminalize certain acts perpetrated against groups, and its efforts to protect individual members of minorities from discrimination. It concludes by looking at some post-Cold War developments at both UN and regional levels, including moves to protect populations from serious harm by categorizing their situations as security issues.

Keywords: Cold War; discrimination; human rights; protection of minorities; refugees; United Nations (UN); World War II



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