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Section III, Article 21

Peter Hilpold

From: The Rights of Minorities: A Commentary on the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Edited By: Marc Weller

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 17 April 2024

Indigenous peoples — Minorities — Human rights remedies — Boundaries — International peace and security

This chapter comments on Article 21 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). Article 21 introduces a safeguard common in human rights instruments and, in particular, in minority rights documents. On the one hand, it constitutes a concession to the fears of states that granting minority rights could constitute a prelude to territorial disruption. Acts contrary to the fundamental principles of international law and, in particular, of the sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and political independence of states cannot be justified for purposes of minority protection. By severing any linkage of this kind, these provisions assure states that minority rights do not constitute a basis for destabilizing demands. Seen positively, this provision emphasizes, on the other hand, the fact that the entire Framework Convention is founded on the understanding that solutions for minority problems have to be arrived at peacefully and constructively.

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