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3 Self-Determination and Cultural Rights

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the evolving link between self-determination and cultural rights in modern international law. Periods of cleavage in international law and relations expose the failings or flaws of existing doctrines or principles and contestation over their possible reform or replacements. The chapter concentrates on three period of transition. First, it analyses the years in early 20th century when self-determination was a political objective and cultural rights were articulated in the League of Nations' mandate and minorities systems. Next it examines the decades of decolonization following Second World War when self-determination emerged as right of peoples, exercisable by those subject to colonial occupation or foreign domination; and cultural rights retreated into the framework of human rights. Finally, it considers the redefinition of right to self-determination following the end of Cold War and the related re-emphasis on cultural rights through multilateral initiatives in the fields of minority protection and indigenous peoples.

Keywords: Cold War; cultural rights; decolonization; international law; league of nations; minority protection; Second World War; self-determination



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