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Group rights: The definition of group rights in the contemporary legal debate based on socio-cultural analysis

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Individuals are not atomized entities but integrated into groups thus sharing common belief- and value-systems, traditions, language, and symbolic orderings of the world. This means that groups (or communities) and their characteristics are constitutive of individual beings. This fact, which was frequently ignored in modemity, is the basis of the assertion that group rights are a sui generis category of the national and international legal regimes. However, group rights fall into two classes: quasi-group rights which are of natural (biological or accidental) origin, and group rights which correspond to the culturally and socially formed characters of groups (ethnic, national, religious, or linguistic groups) and of their members.

Affiliations: 1: United Nations Development Programme, New York, U.S.A.


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