Minority rights 60 years after the UDHR: limits on the preservation of identity?

Tawhida Ahmed, Anastasia Vakulenko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


The international response to the question of what to do with ‘minorities’ has been far from static, oscillating between assimilationist and protectionist attitudes. The current trend rests on a sharp turn from international law’s previously passive attitude towards diversity to one which values pluralism and recognizes the need to preserve identities of all groups in society. The impetuses for this were numerous, not least the stark recognition that unity of identities which the nation-state model pursued was simply not working either to protect the basic rights of some individuals or, fundamentally, to address the types of tensions and conflicts in the world which the international community sought to prevent. There have been signs, therefore, since the 1970s and 1980s that the international community has incorporated into its human rights rhetoric, activities and instruments, the ideal of respect for plurality of identities. Nonetheless, as this chapter demonstrates, the recent case law before the Human Rights Committee (HRC) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) do not always follow a preservation of identity approach. Although international law appears to have a pluralist vision, on closer examination this is rather limited.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational human rights law
Subtitle of host publication 60 years after the universal declaration of human rights
EditorsM Baderin, M Ssenyonjo
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781317114130
ISBN (Print)1315589400, 9781315589404
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


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