HUMR 5120: International Human Rights Law: Substantive Rights

HUMR 5120: International Human Rights Law: Substantive Rights
Approaches towards the definition of Minorities and related groups
by UN bodies
Francesco Capotorti: Proposed Definition of ‘Minorities’ within the Context of
Article 27, ICCPR: Study on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Ethnic, Religious and
Linguistic Minorities (1979) E/CN.4/Sub.2/384/Rev.1
A group numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a state, in a nondominant position, whose members – being nationals of the state – possess ethnic,
religious or linguistic characteristics differing from those of the rest of the population
and show, if only implicitly, a sense of solidarity, directed towards preserving their
culture, traditions, religion or language.
Jose Martinez-Cobo, Study of the Problem of Discrimination against Indigenous
Populations: C/CN.4/Sub.2/186/7;Add 1 (vol.2), para. 379 (1987)
Indigenous communities, peoples and nations, are those which, having a historical
continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that have developed on their
territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now
prevailing in those territories or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant
sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future
generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their
continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social
institutions and legal systems.
Jules Deschenes, Proposal Concerning a Definition of the Term ‘Minority’
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/31, 14 May 1985 at 30.
A group of citizens of a State, constituting a numerical minority and in a nondominant position in that state, endowed with ethnic, religious or linguistic
characteristics which differ from those of the majority of the population, having a
sense of solidarity with one another, motivated, if only implicitly, by a collective will
to survive and whose aim is to achieve equality with the majority in fact and law.
Asbjørn Eide, Working Definition of Minorities, Possible Ways and Means of
Facilitating the Peaceful and Constructive Solution of Problems Involving Minorities,
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/34, 10 August 1993, SCPDPM (45th Session), para 29.
… a minority is any group of persons resident within a sovereign State which
constitutes less than half of the population of the national society and whose members
share common characteristics of an ethnic, religious or linguistic nature that
distinguish them from the rest of the population.