Minority Rights
Specific Instruments
  General Instruments
  Selected Case Law
  Case Law Websites
  Human Rigths Actors
Minority Rights
Specific Instruments
Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice
Date of adoption: 27/11/1978 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities
Date of adoption: 18/12/1992 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
Edict of Nantes (1598)
Date of adoption: 13/4/1598 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Other
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
Date of adoption: 5/11/1992 Entry into force: 1/3/1998
System of protection: Council of Europe
World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance: Declaration and Programme of Action
Date of adoption: 8/9/2001 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Date of adoption: 1/2/1995 Entry into force: 1/2/1998
System of protection: Council of Europe
General Instruments
The Helsinki Final Act
Date of adoption: 1/8/1975 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Date of adoption: 25/6/1993 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica)
Date of adoption: 22/11/1969 Entry into force: 18/7/1978
System of protection: Organization of American States
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Date of adoption: 16/12/1966 Entry into force: 23/3/1976
System of protection: Universal
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Date of adoption: 10/12/1948 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
United Nations Human Rights Apparatus for the Protection of Indigenous Peoples
Latest update: 19/07/2003 First published: 1998
Reference: Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights, Vol 2, Number 2, 1998
Definition and characteristics of indigenous peoples in light of U.N. documents and practice - U.N. documents providing protection for indigenous peoples and minorities - Whether indigenous peoples possess a right to self-determination?
Le droit des minorités canadiennes (l'exemple des Cris)
Latest update: 30/12/2002 First published: 5/2001
Reference: Les Cahiers Rémois, mai 2001, No. 3
The rights of the Crees as a Canadian minority. Minorities and peoples under international law – "Indigeneity" of the Crees – International and Canadian development of indigenous law.
The EU and the Protection of Minorities: The Case of Eastern Europe
Latest update: 18/12/2002 First published: 2001
Reference: Vol. 12 (2001) European Journal Of Internatioanl Law 3
Attempt to develop a preliminary framework for discussing minority rights.
Minority Rights: The Failure of International Law to Protect the Roma
Latest update: 30/10/2002 First published: 2002
Reference: Human Rights Brief - Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Volume 9, Issue 3 (Spring 2002)
The international community has only recently acknowledged the problem of state sanctioned discrimination against the Roma. Although there are international mechanisms established to protect minority groups, these mechanisms are often inadequate ...
Languages: Arabic Chinese English French Portuguese Russian Spanish
The official site of Human Rights Watch - an independent NGO. News releases - Current events - Publications - Info by country - Campaigns - Issues -Reports - Links... Search engine. A very informative site.
Languages: English
COMIR is an Internet-based cooperative project. Its database has a powerful search engine enabling searches by ethnic group, geographical area, detailed subject area etc.
Languages: English
Online library resources - Links - Articles - Reports - All related to implementation of the "Copenhagen Political Criteria" in the EU accession countries.
Languages: English
Directory of resources on minority human rights and related problems of the transition period in Eastern and Central Europe. Very good links, especially for country information, minority information, and minority-related national legislation.
Languages: English French Spanish
Documents - News - Working Group on Minorities - Inter-Agency Cooperation - Instruments - UN Guide for Minorities.
Languages: English
Website of the think tank Runnymede - Ethnicity and cultural diversity - Publications on line
Languages: English
This database includes the most important legal texts relating to minority rights (in English and the local language) by concentrating upon relevant national legislation and case-law of European countries. It's not very easy to use, unfortunately.
Selected Case Law
Buckley v. the United Kingdom
Date: 25/9/1996
Decision-making body: European Court of Human Rights
Legal reference: ECHR, 25 September 1996, Recueil 1996-IV. n° 23/1995/529/615.
Country planning - Prohibition of Gypsy woman to live in her caravan on land owned by her -Notion of home - Existence of official caravan sites - No violation of Article 8 ECHR - No violation of Article 14 ECHR.
"Belgian Linguistics Case": Case "relating to certain aspects of the laws on the use of languages in education in Belgium"
Date: 23/7/1968
Decision-making body: European Court of Human Rights
Legal reference: ECHR, 23 July 1968, Series A, no. 6
Autonomy of Article 14 ECHR - A measure that conforms to Article 2-P1 (right to education) violates this Article combined with Art. 14 if it is discriminatory - Discrimination - Lawfulness, legitimate goal and proportionality.
Ilmari Länsman et al v. Finland
Date: 8/11/1994
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: Communication No 511/1992 : Finland. 08/11/94. CCPR/C/52/D/511/1992
Reindeer farm run by members of the Sami people - Difficulties owing to the operation of a quarry on their territory - Communication based on Article 27 - No violation.
John Ballantyne and Elizabeth Davidson, and Gordon McIntyre v. Canada
Date: 5/5/1993
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: Communication No. 359/1989 : Canada. 05/05/93. CCPR/C/47/D/359/1989
Ban on the use of the English language in commercial advertising - Violation of Article 19(2) - No discrimination - Notion of linguistic minority.
Ominayak and the Lubicon Lake Band v. Canada
Date: 10/5/1990
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: CCPR/C/38/D/167/1984
Claim of cultural expropriation based on private exploitation of indigenous lands (in the province of Alberta) authorized by Canada - Inadmissible based on Article 1 (self-determination) - Violation of article 27.
Ivan Kitok v. Sweden
Date: 10/8/1988
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: CCPR/C/33/D/197/1985
Legal restrictions on the rights of members of the Sami indigenous community - Communication inadmissible based on Article 1 (self-determination) - Violation of Article 27.
Case Law Websites
Commonwealth Human Rights Case Law Database (The)
Languages: English
Allows you to browse or search for summaries of recent human rights decisions from national courts in Commonwealth jurisdictions.
Council of Europe - Human Rights Web
Languages: English French
Search the case-law of the European Convention on Human Rights control bodies.
International Human Rights Law Database (The)
Languages: English
A resource for those seeking summaries and commentaries on international human rights case law, the database allows searches by text, 47 subjects, 81 states, 9 treaties, 9 decisionmaking bodies, and date. A powerful and quick database.
Languages: English
Compiles international texts and domestic legislation in the OSCE region dealing with the rule of law and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Accessible by topic, country, or through the search engine.
Repertorio de Jurisprudencia del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos
Languages: Spanish
Directory of the case law of the Inter-American Court 1980 - 1997.
The Indigenous World
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) Date: 7/2003
Reference: contact: iwgia@iwgia.org
Source: IWGIA
Published annually in July - State of affairs - Indigenous peoples - Global view - Recent editions available in English PDF.
Jurisprudence of the European Court and Commission of Human Rights in 2001 and Minority Groups
Prof. Geoff Gilbert Date: 24/5/2002
Reference: E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.5/2002/WP.2
Source: Commission on Human Rights
This document examines the jurisprudence of the European Court and Commission of Human Rights decided in 2001 as it might impinge on minority groups.
Report of an international seminar on autonomist and integrationist approaches to minority protection
Danish Centre for Human Rights Date: 3/4/2002
Reference: E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.5/2002/WP.1
Source: Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Guide for Minorities
HCDH / OHCHR Date: 2001
Reference: United Nations Guide Series, No. 2
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Guide has been prepared with a view to assisting minorities in understanding how to seek protection of their rights through the different procedures existing at the international and regional levels.
For the Record 2001: The United Nations Human Rights System
Human Rights Internet Date: 2001
Reference: Human Rights Internet, 2001
Source: Human Rights Internet
FTR is an electronic annual report that provides summaries of relevant human rights information generated within the UN system. An important reference tool for those active in national and international social justice movements, the report also aids in simplifying the human rights work of the UN for the uninitiated, members of national legislative assemblies, journalists, students, teachers and the general public. Produced with the support of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade since 1997, the report is organized thematically as well as by country and covers all relevant UN documentation over a full calendar year. These include: State reports prepared for the six human rights treaty bodies and the concluding observations of the experts who review those reports; documentation, resolutions and decisions by various UN system bodies.
For the Record 2001: The European Human Rights System
Human Rights Internet & Netherlands Institute of Human Rights / Internet des droits humains et l' Institut néerlandais des droits de l'homme Date: 2001
Reference: -
Source: Human Rights Internet & Netherlands Institute of Human Rights
A review of the major human rights developments in the European human rights system (within the Council of Europe). Organized thematically and by country. Focuses on developments in the scope of: European Convention on Human Rights; European Social Charter; European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and its protocols; Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities; and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. A major distinguishing feature of FTR Europe is that it contains summaries of human rights case law.
Minority Rights
HCDH / OHCHR Date: 2/1998
Reference: Fact Sheet No.18 (Rev.1)
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The human rights Fact Sheet Series is published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.
International Law and the Rights of Minorities
Reference: Oxford, Clare Press, 1991
Languages: English
This book is an in-depth study of modern international law applicable to minorities. Definition of minority in legal terms – Minority protection under modern international law – Specific minority rights – The idea of "special treatment"…
Treaties and Indigenous Peoples
Reference: Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992
Languages: English
The book essentially revolves around the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) which was made by the Queen of England and the Confederation of chiefs and subtribes of New Zealand (about the recognition of group rights within a colonial framework).
Monitoring Human Rights in Europe. Comparing International Procedures and Mechanisms
A. Bloed, L. Leicht, M. Nowak, A. Rosas Ed.
Reference: Dordrecht/Boston/London, Martinus Nijhoff, 1993
Languages: English
The studies focus on the effectiveness of the various mechanisms and frameworks, their differing legal and political characteristics and contexts, their interrelationship as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Monitoring Human Rights in Europe: Comparing International Procedures and Mechanisms
Arie Bloed, Liselotte Leicht, M. Nowak, A. Rosas Ed.
Reference: Dordrecht, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1993
Languages: English
Collection of articles on international mechanisms for the protection of human rights and the prevention of their abuses in Europe: Reporting procedures - Individual complaints - Contribution of NGOs - Torture - Minority rights - ICTY...
Minority and Group Rights in the New Millennium
Deirdre Fottrell, Bill Bowring Ed.
Reference: The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1999
Languages: English
A collection of articles on minority issues: Ireland as a Case-Study - The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages - Minority Rights in Central and Eastern Europe - The Kurds - Educational Rights and the Definition of Minorities...
Les mesures relatives aux étrangers à l'épreuve de la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme
P. Lambert, C. Pettiti Ed.
Reference: Bruxelles, Droit & Justice, Bruylant, 2003
Languages: French
Collected papers from a 2003 seminar dedicated to the European Court of Human Rights' case-law related to the various situations that non-national foreigners are confronted with (non admission, asylum, deportation, "double punishment").
Minority Rights in the "New" Europe
Peter Cumper, Steven Wheatley Ed.
Reference: The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1999
Languages: English
Response of the main institutions within Europe - Increasing recourse of states to bilateral arrangements - Developing content of minority rights - Challenges posed by state-building and the resolution of conflicts involving national minorities.
Indigenous Human Rights
Sam GARKAWE, Loretta KELLY and Warwick FISHER Ed.
Reference: New South Wales, Australia, Sydney Monograph Series, Federation Press, 2001
Languages: English
Racial Discrimination- Removal of children- Cultural rights- Self-government- Access to the UN - International law - International perspective - Indigenous and non-indigenous contributors.
Can Liberal Pluralism be Exported? Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe
Reference: Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001
Languages: English
The aim of this volume is to explore whether recent work by Western liberal theorists on issues of pluralism and minority rights is useful to understanding and evaluating ethnic conflicts in the post-Communist countries of Eastern Europe and the fSU.
Human Rights Tribune
Reference: Ottawa, Human Rights Internet
Contact: hri@hri.ca http://www.hri.ca/cftribune/
Languages: English
A tri-yearly publication of HRI (Human Rights Internet). Addresses all areas of human rights from a non-governmental perspective world-wide. Articles about important events - NGO reports - Analysis of the work of human rights organizations.
Immigrants & Minorities
Reference: London, Frank Cass Publishers
Contact: jnlsubs@frankcass.com http://www.frankcass.com/jnls/im.htm
Languages: English
Research into the history of immigration and related studies. It seeks to deal with the complex themes involved in the construction of 'race' and with the broad sweep of ethnic minority relations within a historical setting.
The Global Review of Ethnopolitics
Contact: S.Wolff@bath.ac.uk, K.Cordell@plymouth.ac.u http://www.ethnopolitics.org
Languages: English
"A new authoritative peer-reviewed online journal" publishes high-quality work in the field of ethnopolitics, covering the disciplines of political science and international relations and taking primarily a contemporary, current affairs perspective.
Human Rights Actors
Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia (CIDOB)
http://www.cidob-bo.org/ Type:Other
Its main goal is to formulate a strategy to combat poverty from the Bolivian indian perspective.
European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI)
http://www.ecmi.de Type:Research / Education
The ECMI engages in action-oriented projects, conducts practice-oriented research and provides information and documentation concerning minority-majority relations in Europe. The site provides news and various publications: handbooks, reports...
European Roma Rights Center (ERRC)
http://www.errc.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
An international public interest law organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse.
Foundation on Inter-ethnic Relations (FIER)
http:// Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
A private, non-profit organisation. Aim: to promote research and co-operation on interethnic relations. In particular: seeks to co-ordinate specialised programmes directly supportive of the work of the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities.
Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM)
http://www.greekhelsinki.gr Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Monitors, publishes and lobbies on human rights issues in Greece and, occasionally, in the Balkans. Monitoring of Greek and Balkan media for stereotypes and hate speech. Reports on ethnonational, ethnolinguistic, religious and immigrant communities.
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Australia) (HREOC)
http://www.humanrights.gov.au/ Type:National Human Rights Institution
A national independent statutory government body. Conducts inquiries into alleged discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin, racial vilification, sex, sexual harassment, marital status, pregnancy, or disability. HR education.
Human Rights and Human Diversity Initiative (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) ()
http://www.unl.edu/HumanR/index.html Type:Research / Education
Goal: to examine issues related to human rights in an international perspective. Relationship between cultural diversity and human rights. Universality of HR. Minorities: refugees, voluntary migrants, and indigenous peoples. Human rights protectors.
Humanitarian Law Center (HLC)
http://www.hlc.org.yu/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
A regional, non-profit NGO that monitors respect for human rights in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. It advocates, investigates and reports on breaches of international humanitarian law, investigates human rights violations, and represents victims.
Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (University of Amsterdam) (IMES)
http://www.pscw.uva.nl/imes/ Type:Research / Education
An interdisciplinary research institute of the University of Amsterdam. The research programme of IMES focuses on the Dutch case with specific attention given to the City of Amsterdam, but from an international and comparative perspective.
International Movement against All forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
http://www.imadr.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
An international non-profit, human rights NGO devoted to eliminating all forms of discrimination around the world, forging international solidarity among discriminated minorities and advancing the international regime of human rights.
Magnus Hirschfeld Centre for Human Rights ()
http://come.to/humanrights Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
NGO that places a special emphasis on its work in connection with defending and promoting the human rights of vulnerable minority communities and persons placed on the margins of power in society, i.e., women, children, ethnic/racial minorities ...
Minority Rights Group International (MRG)
http://www.minorityrights.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
International NGO, bases in London, that promotes the rights of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities.
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM)
http://www.osce.org/hcnm/ Type:International or Regional Organization
Since 1992: identifies and seeks early resolution of ethnic tensions that might endanger peace, stability, friendly relations between OSCE states. Conducts on-site missions and makes recommendations regarding the treatment of national minorities.
OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR (OSCE))
http://www.osce.org/odihr Type:International or Regional Organization
Carries out projects, policy, publications and monitoring missions in the areas of human rights and democratization, minorities, institution-building, election observation, and more.
Runnymede ()
http://www.runnymedetrust.org Type:Research / Education
Founded in 1968, Runnymede is a leading independent think tank on ethnicity and cultural diversity. Our mandate since inception has been to challenge racial discrimination, to influence related legislation and to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain.
Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC)
http://www.wiesenthal.com/index.cfm Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
A US-based international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action.
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ()
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/7/b/mrad.htm Type:United Nations System
Mandate established in 1993...
Working Group on Minorities ()
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/10/c/minor/min_wg. Type:United Nations System
A subsidiary organ of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities - Promotes rights set out in the Declaration on persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
World Amazigh Action Coalition (WAAC)
http://www.waac.org/amazigh/index.html Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
"...an outreach and human rights organization, dedicated to raising international awareness of the Amazigh people and their struggle for survival." Focus on issues dealing with the native identity of north Africa(Amazigh a.k.a. Berber).