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A systematic approach of international protection of minority rights began after the First World War by the League of Nations. The minority protection system was meant to protect group rights of homogenous populations within States, to further the idea of self-determination. After the Second World War the United Nations the focus was on universal rights of individuals, rather than on minorities. The end of the Cold War, and the many conflicts with ethnic dimensions marked the revival of the protection of minority rights. The result was the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities by the UN General Assembly in 1992. The 21st Century faces the challenge to achieve a peaceful coexistence within the multicultural nations of the world.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for legal research on Minorities. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section.
Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library’s classification index code 106. Minorities and subject heading (keyword) Minorities are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
- Arp, B., International Norms and Standards for the Protection of National Minorities: Bilateral and Multilateral Texts with Commentary, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2008.
- Khan, B.U., M.M.Rahman, Protection of Minorities: regimes, norms and issues in South Asia,
- Malloy, T.H., U.Caruso (eds)., Minorities, their rights, and the monitoring of the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities : essays in honour of Rainer Hofmann, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2013
- Weller, M. (ed.), Universal Minority Rights: a Commentary on the Jurisprudence of International Courts and Treaty Bodies, Oxford (etc.), Oxford University Press, 2007.
- Weller, M. (ed.), The Rights of Minorities in Europe: a Commentary on the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Oxford (etc.), Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Alfredsson, G., “Miniorities, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, and Peoples: Definitions of Terms as a Matter of International Law”, in N. Ghanea and A. Xanthaki (eds.), Minorities, Peoples, and Self-Determination: Essays in Honour of Patrick Thornberry, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2005, pp. 163-172.
- Alfredsson, G., “Minority Rights at the United Nations”, in D. Thürer and Z. Kedzia (eds.), Managing Diversity: Protection of Minorities in International Law, Zurich, Schulthess, 2009, pp. 19-29.
- Cowan, J., “Justice and the League of Nations Minority Regime”, in K.M. Clarke, and M. Goodale (eds.), Mirrors of Justice: Law and Power in the Post-Cold War Era, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 270-290.
- Gilbert, G., “The Burgeoning Minority Rights Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights”, Human Rights Quarterly, 24 (2002), No. 3, pp. 736-780.
- Grote, R., “The Struggle for Minority Rights and Human Rights: Current Trends and Challenges”, in D. König and R. Wolfrum (eds.), International Law Today: New Challenges and the Need for Reform?, Berlin, Springer, 2008, pp. 221-246.
- Pejic, J., “Minority Rights in International Law”, Human Rights Quarterly, 19 (1997), pp. 666-685.
- Rosting, H., “Protection of Minorities by the League of Nations”, American Journal of International Law, 17 (1923), No. 4, pp. 641-660.
- Smihula, D., “Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities in International Law”, Polish Yearbook of International Law, 28 (2006-2008), pp. 96-136.
- Sunga, L.J., “International Criminal Law: Protection of Minority Rights”, in Z.A. Skurbaty (ed.), Beyond a One-Dimensional State: an Emerging Right to Autonomy?, Leiden (etc.), Nijhoff, 2005, pp. 255-275.
- Wenzel, N., “Minority Rights as Group-Protective Rights: a Challenge for the International Law of Human Rights”, in D. König and R. Wolfrum (eds.), International Law Today: New Challenges and the Need for Reform?, Berlin, Springer, 2008, pp. 247-259.
- Zyberi, G., “The International Court of Justice and the Rights of Peoples and Minorities”, in C.J.Tams and J.Sloan (eds.), The Development of International Law by the International Court of Justice,
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religous and Linguistic Minorities
Periodicals, serial publications
- Europa Ethnica
- European Yearbook of Minority Issues
- International Annual Report
- International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
- Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs
- Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
- Der Minderheitenschutz im östlichen Europa
- Regional or Minority Languages
- Report (MRG)
- UNPO Yearbook
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Robinson, R. (ed.), Minorities Studies in India, New Delhi (etc.), Oxford University Press, 2012.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
This volume explores the issue of minorities in India and how they are identified, defined, and categorized by legal and institutional processes. It examines how modern law creates and conditions minority identity and also how groups manipulate the ground-level situation to project a certain identity at a particular point of time. When more than one category applies to a group, and such categorizations become the basis for the struggle for rights, the politics of identity become even more complex. The volume specifically focuses on ‘religious’ minorities, questioning the religious identification of groups and showing that the construction of minority groups in religious terms is difficult to achieve given the existence of several, and sometimes contradictory, loyalties and identities.
Galbreath, D.J. and J. McEvoy, The European Minority Rights Regime: Towards a Theory of Regime Effectiveness, Basingstoke (etc.), Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The European Minority Rights Regime investigates the cooperation between the EU, OSCE and Council of Europe on minority rights in Europe. It tracks the formation and transformation of this international regime and questions its effectiveness in securing minority rights. The book demonstrates how the three organizations have formalized their linkages and managed their respective mandates in the context of EU enlargement. At the domestic level, the book focuses on three case studies – Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria – with an examination of the impact of inter-organizational cooperation on the status of their respective national minorities. Although cooperation has delivered largely positive change for accession countries, challenges remain for minorities in Europe and the regime’s future operation. This book links two key research areas – international regimes and EU integration – to determine why ethnic politics remain a source of contention for the European project.
Khan, B.U. and M.M. Rahman, Protection of Minorities: Regimes, Norms and Issues in South Asia, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012.View this title in our link resolver PlinkletWe live in a world that not only sets standards for, but also professes its commitment to promoting and protecting ‘rights’. Since ours is an age of heightened public interest in auditing the actual realisation of such standards and commitment, the first major focus of this book is a critical account of international standards aimed at the protection of minorities. To that end, it concentrates on four key dimensions. Firstly, it addresses the issue of the identification of minorities as understood by international law. Secondly, it outlines a brief history on the development of international law towards improving the protection of minorities. Thirdly, it gives an overview of international instruments and mechanisms on minorities. Finally, it analyses the rights of minorities under international standards. All these dimensions point to the fact that international minority rights lag behind the development of other branches of rights. The second major focus of this book is to relate international standards on minority protection to South Asian regimes. Concentrating on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Afghanistan, an endeavor is made to examine the state of minorities and their protection under the domestic regimes. It emerges that the normative commitments of these states are more or less compatible with international standards. Nevertheless, majority-minority syndrome persistently remains as one of the causes behind multidimensional deprivation and victimization of South Asian minorities. The present book also assesses the extent to which regional cooperation in South Asia has so far contributed to extending protection to minorities. This ends with an argument that SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) has the potential to play a far greater role in this regard.
Arp, B., International Norms and Standards for the Protection of National Minorities: Bilateral and Multilateral Texts with Commentary, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2008.View this title in our link resolver PlinkletA broad network of bilateral treaties for the protection of national minorities has been set up during the past fifteen years. They complement and further develop the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and other multilateral instruments. Some texts are genuine international treaties, while others are non-binding political documents. The present book brings all these texts together in a reliable English translation, which offers practitioners and researchers easy access to and supplies knowledge on the present state of development of the conventional and customary sources of law in this field. The introductory study helps further understanding of the legal character of the texts and explains how to work with these often complex and interrelated sources of law.
Weller, M. (ed.), Universal Minority Rights: a Commentary on the Jurisprudence of International Courts and Treaty Bodies, Oxford (etc.), Oxford University Press, 2007.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
The development of international standards for the protection of minorities has been slow and fragmented. In the absence of a comprehensive and universal binding set of rules, the development of minority protection has been left to regional agreements and judicial interpretation of wider human rights treaties. Universal Minority Rights brings together, for the first time, the full set of all regional and international jurisprudence from courts and treaty bodies concerned with issues of minority rights. The commentary is arranged around ten thematic areas of investigation, including religious rights, education, cultural rights, political participation and socio-economic opportunities. Each substantive chapter offers an introduction to the issue at hand and its special relevance to minority communities, a general survey of legal standards addressing the issue, and an examination of specific problems that are being tackled through legal standards and judicial review. Each chapter concludes with an evaluation of the contribution of the case-law reviewed to the development of universal standards of protection. Throughout, the commentary takes full account of international treaties and their associated bodies, including the ICCPR, the ICESCR, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In addition, the commentary analyzes the regional standards that have developed through the Council of Europe and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. Through an exhaustive, comparative analysis of principles and substantive rules, the commentary provides an invaluable reference point for the development of minority protection.
Weller, M. (ed.), The Rights of Minorities in Europe: a Commentary on the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Oxford (etc.), Oxford University Press, 2005.View this title in our link resolver PlinkletThis volume provides the first expert commentary on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which is the principal international document establishing minority rights in a legally binding way. Many minority rights such as those to political participation, non-assimilation, and the use of native languages are not incorporated in other major Human Rights agreements. The Convention is therefore often taken to be the leading standard in this area of regulation. This commentary offers a detailed article-by-article analysis of the Convention, drawing upon its negotiating history and implementation practice, in addition to examining the pronouncements of the Advisory Committee, which is the implementation body attached to the treaty.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Minorities, International Protection, by Kristin Henrard.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Minority Protection System between World War I and World War II, by Anna Meijknecht.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Minorities, European Protection, by Rainer Hofmann.
“People must be able to look one another in the eye”. Plans of the Dutch Government to ban face-covering clothing.
The Dutch Government chose to ignore the advice of the Council of State concerning the ban on face-covering clothing. The Council of State, the advisory organ of the Government, heavily criticised the legislative proposal. First, the Council of State does not consider the complete ban as necessary and useful. Second, the Council of State is of the opinion that a ban on face covering clothing is an infringement of the freedom of religion.Read more
Roma Rights in the European Union.
In July 2010, The French government decided to begin to expel Roma’s, mainly from Romania and Bulgaria, as many of them were living in France illegally. This decision caused much controversy within the Institutions of the EU. This blog will briefly discuss in what way EU institutions have responded to recent Roma issues and what can be done to improve the position of this marginalized community in Europe.Read more
The Islamic veil, secularism and freedom of religion
“The burqa is a massive attack on the rights of women. It is a mobile prison”, Silvana Koch-Merin stated. Silvana, a German representative of the European Parliament, called for a ban on face-covering veils throughout Europe .There are many kinds of islamic veils, such as the niqab, burqa, chador, and khimar (see picture below). The [...]Read more
On Monday the 17th of August 2009 the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations of the Hague Academy of International Law started. The Centre takes place annually at the Academy and Library building of the Peace Palace. The purpose of the Centre is to bring together advanced young scholars of [...]Read more
Australian Key Ruling on Indigenous Fishing Rights
On Wednesday, 30 July, the Australian High Court in Canberra in a key ruling (Northern Territory of Australia v Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust  HCA 29, judgement here) upheld a decision by the Federal Court earlier this year granting Aboriginal people rights of ownership over a large part of the Northern Territory’s (NT) coastline.Read more
- Institute for Minority Rights
- International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations
- Minority Rights Group International
- MIRIS – Minority Rights Information System
- Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
- World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples