Do Minority and Group Rights Promote Just Stability in Non-Unitary Political Orders? A Research Agenda
International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, Vol. 13, Nos. 2 & 3, pp. 141-152, 2006
13 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2010
Date Written: 2006
Much has been achieved with regard to the specification of minority and group rights as well as other international legal human rights norms. The positivation of human rights thus secure, many now urge that the next move must be to promote realistion of such human rights regimes. This crucial task may well face special challenges in states whose constitutions unbundle sovereignty into multi-level or multi-national political orders. One important research topic is therefore whether minority and group rights secure their objectives in de jure non-unitary political orders, whose populations sharply divide along ethnic, national, religious or linguistic lines. The aim of this paper is to identify some of the central research challenges that arise. The first section lays out some of the central organising elements of this presentation, while sections 2 and 3 draws on existing literature to elaborate some central concepts and distinctions, and present some of the most prominent competing hypotheses as to whether minority and group rights facilitate the creation of non-unitary political orders, and their stability once arrived at. The presentation elaborates on how minority and group rights may affect several mechanisms of socialisation to human rights and compliance with these complex political orders. The aim is to facilitate legal and social science research that may help assess these claims, and their scope conditions – and thereby help assess the efficacy of minority and group rights in these non-unitary polities. Other contributors – in this special issue and elsewhere – provide case studies that may serve to test and delimit these hypotheses.
Keywords: minority, group rights, human rights, political order
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