Basic Documents on Autonomy and Minority Rights

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Hurst Hannum
Nijhoff, Mar 29, 1993 - Law - 779 pages
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The scope of arrangements which provide for some degree of "autonomy" is almost unlimited, as are the norms and means which have been adopted to protect minority rights. Documents on Autonomy and Minority Rightsoffer examples of some of the unique structures which have been developed to respond to geographic, political, ethnic, linguistic, and other differences under a single sovereignty. They present a broad spectrum of domestic constitutional provisions, statutes, and political agreements, as well as a comprehensive collection of relevant international instruments. The first section includes documents adopted on a global or regional basis to set standards for the protection of minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. The second section includes a wide range of national documents related to minority rights and/or autonomy. The last section contains historical documents. The author has written a brief introduction to each document to give the reader unfamiliar with the situation to which a document pertains enough information to consider its context. No single text can be used as a model of autonomy, for every situation is unique. At the same time, however, greater knowledge of a broad range of successful and unsuccessful arrangements may inspire new ideas with which to address conflicts which have claimed tens of thousands of lives in recent years. At the very least, the ingenuity evidenced in some of the documents should encourage experimentation and underscore the need of going beyond the mere recitation of definitions of federalism, consociation, devolution, or other constitutional models. The great variety of institutional arrangements, the detailed provisions developed to resolve particularly difficult local problems, and the flexibility in addressing issues such as revenue-sharing or participation in international organizations, demonstrate that neither "sovereignty" nor "self-determination" need stand in the way of innovative solutions.

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About the author (1993)

Hurst Hannum is Professor of International Law at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He has served as counsel in cases before the European and Inter-American Commissions on Human Rights and the United Nations.

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