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The Rights of ‘Old’ versus ‘New’ Minorities

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Chapter Summary

International minority rights law is law in making. Important developments took place during the last decade of the twentieth century, but many issues remain vague and uncharted. One of the stumbling blocks has been disagreement on whether so-called 'new' minorities should be included, and whether they should have same rights as the 'old' minorities. This chapter addresses 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 one should separate the 'old' from the 'new'. The chapter illustrates the provisions of United Nations Declaration of Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (UNDeclMin). To be a minority, old as well as the new must be numerically inferior to dominant majority in country, and share common ethnic, religious or linguistic features which they want to preserve.

Keywords: 'new' minorities; 'old' minorities; de lege ferenda; International minority rights law; UNDeclMin



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