Why Majority Rights Matter in the Context of Ethno-Cultural Diversity: The Interlinkage of Minority Rights, Indigenous Rights, and Majority Rights

Forthcoming, G. Pentassuglia (ed.), Ethno-Cultural Diversity and Human Rights (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, 2018).

27 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2017

See all articles by Dwight G. Newman

Dwight G. Newman

University of Saskatchewan College of Law

Date Written: March 31, 2017

Abstract

Many discussions of ethno-cultural minority rights and indigenous rights have proceeded on the assumption that such rights flow from minority status or indigenous status rather than from collective interests of these communities. This focus on marginalized identities as the source of rights held by communities implicitly excludes the possibility of rights held by majority communities. This chapter challenges such an approach and simultaneously argues for the reality of majority rights. Part 1 contextualizes the issues and introduces the chapter. Part 2 explains a first disadvantage for minorities and indigenous communities themselves in an approach focused on marginalization, which is effectively that the approach risks locking them into victimhood. Part 3 considers the particular problems of minority groups that have regional majority status and thus need majority rights. Part 4 considers the particular problems of indigenous communities that have self-governmental powers recognized and thus similarly need majority rights within their jurisdiction. Part 5 introduces the author’s broader theoretical approach to collective rights, grounded in collective interests, and commences an argument that this approach properly grounds majority rights alongside minority rights and indigenous rights. Part 6 considers the frequent challenge that majority rights will be used to diminish minority rights and presents an account of how these different categories of rights can appropriately be reconciled. Part 7 introduces several policy implications, and Part 8 offers some brief concluding thoughts. Ultimately, the chapter argues for recognizing majority rights on the same platform as minority rights and indigenous rights, though arguing for a different platform than is often used for those rights, and argues that a principled approach to all of these rights can offer a set of interlinking rights that respect all communities.

Keywords: majority rights, minority rights, Indigenous rights, rights theory, immigration, multiculturalism, interculturalism, language policy

Suggested Citation

Newman, Dwight G., Why Majority Rights Matter in the Context of Ethno-Cultural Diversity: The Interlinkage of Minority Rights, Indigenous Rights, and Majority Rights (March 31, 2017). Forthcoming, G. Pentassuglia (ed.), Ethno-Cultural Diversity and Human Rights (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, 2018).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2956027

Dwight G. Newman (Contact Author)

University of Saskatchewan College of Law ( email )

15 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A6
Canada
(306) 966-4847 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.usask.ca/find-people/faculty/newman-dwight.php

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