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Collective claims on the human rights landscape: a Canadian view

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This article offers some observations on the emergence of collectivist trends in the human rights movement in Canada and abroad. The author points out that one should be mindful of the distinction between group rights as a shield against normative violations or as a sword against individual or minority entitlement. The issue of collective rights has acquired a remarkable degree of legitimacy in Canada. Having recognized in 1867 the significance of group dynamics in the areas of education, language and religion for the French and English communities, the proposals for constitutional change would enshrine the same benefits for aboriginal people and minorities while underscoring the equality of men and women in all contexts. Similar trends are discerned abroad.

Affiliations: 1: Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Ottawa, Canada


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