Religious Minorities and Their Rights: A Problem of Approach

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This article examines the nature of religious minorities and the rights and guarantees accorded to them by public international law generally and, more specifically, international human rights law, particularly since 1945. It is not, though, simply a review of rights pertaining to the group's religious identity, for a difference in religion may reflect the group's sense of national identity. To that end, the rights of religio-nationalist minorities generally are examined: it includes case studies of the ICCPR, the OSCE, the ECHR, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, 1995, and the Anglo-Irish Frameworks for the Future. The conclusion, moreover, moves on to consider how international law might best treat religious minorities in order to meet the varied needs of all the parties, that is, the group, the State, the individual members of the minority and majority populations and the international community. It also considers how far law alone can satisfy those varied needs.

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