Please note that on our website we use cookies to enhance your experience, and for analytics purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our privacy policy. By clicking ‘Allow cookies’, you agree to our use of cookies. By clicking ‘Decline’, you don’t agree to our Privacy Policy.

No translations available

Minorities and Human Rights Law

1 June 1991

Following the pioneering UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, there have been many attempts to formulate international legal standards, to define a States’ obligations to its citizens and to curtail its abuses. What do these standards have to offer minorities?

Most international law is concerned with individual rights or State responsibilities. Only rarely are minorities even mentioned, let alone protected. Some States claim they have no minority peoples; others deny the need for specific minority rights. Some States work actively to protect and promote the human rights of minorities, but many more either ignore or discriminate against them.

Minorities and Human Rights Law outlines the major international, regional and constitutional developments affecting minorities and places them in their historical context. Written by Dr Patrick Thornberry, Senior Law Lecturer at Keele University, it includes examples from the largest States to the smallest and from peaceful solutions to areas of continuing minority/majority conflict. It covers new developments in the Council of Europe, the CSCE and the United Nations draft Declaration on the Rights of Minorities.

A wide-ranging and indispensable survey, this report is essential reading for academics, students, lawyers, politicians and all of those concerned with minorities and their future survival.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

Download (PDF, English)


Patrick Thornberry