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The legal nature of commitments related to the question of minorities

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Though the list of international standards for the protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities seems to be quite comprehensive, one cannot overlook the fact that the most important among normative instruments, the United Nations Declaration and CSCE Copenhagen Document, are not legally binding. From the legal point of view while the principles of equality and non-discrimination of persons belonging to national minorities are formulated by "hard law", i.e. by the whole body of international human rights instruments, positive rights are mainly formulated by "soft law", i.e. recommendations and documents of intergovernmental organizations. Although this is true for both universal ad regional standards, nevertheless in comparison with the universal level, the protection of minority rights has been more advanced in the European region and within the OSCE process. The article proposes a number of ways and means by which the further consolidation of international standards concerning minority rights can be achieved.

Affiliations: 1: UNESCO, Division of Human Rights, Democracy and Peace, and the Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights


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