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Including Minority Rights in Peace Agreements: A Benefit or Obstacle to Peace Processes after Ethnic Conflicts?

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Dealing effectively and efficiently with minorities and minority problems in the aftermath of ethnic conflict is central to durable and stable peace. The inclusion of minority rights in peace agreements is seen as a mandatory step in the resolution of the conflict and political stability. While references to human rights and minority rights are common, it is the implementation process that often lacks clarity and thoroughness. On the basis of three case studies, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Kosovo, this study examines how human rights and minority rights provisions are put into practice and how they impact the peace process. Findings suggest that the inclusion of minority rights is only beneficial in cases in which relevant institutions and adequate political and civil society support were established to implement the provisions. Formal reference to ethnic problems or minority rights is not sufficient.

Affiliations: 1: Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA, USA


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