’The fate of minorities’ - sixty years on

Rhona Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The General Assembly Resolution by which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted noted that ‘the United Nations cannot remain indifferent to the fate of minorities’ (Resolution 217C(III)). However, the complexities of the subject precluded agreement at that time on a text ensuring the rights of minorities are protected and thus the matter was referred to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). ECOSOC was instructed to request its Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities ‘to make a thorough study of the problem of minorities’.(Id) This article seeks to provide a synopsis of the fate of minorities, set against their historical context, after all, as Nowak notes ‘[p]rotection of minorities represents one of the most important predecessors to modern, international human rights protection.’ (1993: 480). It is remarkable that while international human rights have attained global acclaim and universal acceptance, ‘the fate of minorities’ has, arguably, yet to be satisfactorily resolved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWeb Journal of Current Legal Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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