A Popular Guide to Minority Rights

A Popular Guide to Minority Rights

A Popular Guide to Minority Rights

A Popular Guide to Minority Rights

Synopsis

A Popular Guide to Minority Rights will undoubtedly serve as the authoritative must-read text for following the issues related to minority rights, self-determination and reparations currently so widely discussed within American minority communities.

Excerpt

When we speak of human rights, it is often assumed that we are referring to a set of rules and principles put together by some utopian international organization far from the realm of real problems and practical policies, with no hope of effective implementation. However, while utopian concepts of human rights do exist, the human rights instrumentation emerging from the present international system results not from wishful thinking but from real life human tragedies, from the necessity to seek peace, law and order to ensure human survival.

A cursory glance at the history of human rights subsequent to World War II, the Holocaust, and the economic destruction of Europe suggests that human rights emerged from the nearly universal international recognition of the potential of humankind, in the form of sovereign states, nations and individuals, for self- destruction through their creation of situations of chaos, economic collapse, injustice, environmental disaster, appalling human misery and genocide. Statesmen were forced to recognize that an international system consisting of sovereign states which subordinated their citizens' rights as human beings to governing elites' efforts to maintain power, national supremacy and privileges, was anarchic and dangerous. Perhaps the only rational short and long range response to this challenge could be none other than the establishment of the UN and the further development of international law, in recognition of what a history of wars of conquest had taught: that the rule of law is a necessary ordering principle in the world system as much as it is in states, that violent conflicts which threaten world peace frequently entail issues of justice and rights, and that there are some rights which all need and demand, regardless of nationality, race, gender or economic situation.

In the ensuing five decades since its establishment, the UN has succeeded in the monumental task of providing for the legal- structural togetherness (in one forum) of states: large and small, rich and poor, developed and underdeveloped, and of diverse cultures, philosophies, races, ethnicities, and religions which in their entirety represent the present world system. These states, operating under the umbrella of the UN and representing, however inadequately, the people of the global village, decided it . . .

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